First-class HTTP programming is available in WebAPI

Typically, a WebAPI method might look like this;

public Project Get(int id)
return this.repo.GetProject(id);

And what we’re seeing here is a method that returns a Project object — or rather, a Project object that is later converted into a JSON object…

So it may be that you need to do a whole lot more — say, in sniffing HTTP headers for a particular purpose, or returning more interesting things in the response. So here’s how you would alter the above method;

public HttpResponseMessage Get(HttpRequestMessage request)
if (request.Headers[...])

And now you’re able to do anything you like with the request — you’ve got full control if you need it. It’s the ‘escape hatch’ out of the sometimes-too-helpful set of conventions. Not something for everyday, but something to use when all else fails, I think.

Lightweight Architeture for everyone with ASP.NET Web API — Christian Weyer

This was by far the most pragmatically useful of the sessions so far. We’ve just started using WebAPI and it’s clear that there’s loads more to it than we’re using. Of vital importance to me was an understanding of just how the magic works.

It seems to me that when you get into a new technology, it’s always pretty fraught. Or it should be, because you should be always asking yourself, ‘Am I doing this the right way? Is this the way that a pro would do it, or is it the way an amateur hacker would do it?’ Christian Weyer helped point me down the right path. Luckily, much of the things we’ve been doing are right, and the rest are easy to address.

First up, then — what is WebAPI and why do we care?

Well, WebAPI is a way to build HTTP APIs for your services. The HTTP API is designed to live between the client app — be it web page, console app, Windows Forms app, or iOS app — and provide all the business logic and database logic.

There are a raft of tips, so rather than smashing them all into one big blog post, I’m going to post things one at a time. I’ll tag them all `WebAPI` and `DevWeek` so you can search them out more easily.