New to Angular 4.3: HttpClient

I recently discovered from A Taste From The New Angular HTTP Client (via ng-newsletter, which covers both Angular and AngularJS) that Angular 4.3, which just became available, includes a new HTTP client.

So what does it add?

  1. JSON by default - no more .map(response => response.json()); unless you explicitly specify e.g. { responseType: 'text' } when making a request, the client will automatically parse the response body as JSON for you. You can still get the response, using { observe: 'response' }, if you need access to e.g. the headers.

  2. Response typing - versions of the requests methods that use generic types are now provided, so you can supply a type for the return value:

    this.http.get<Thing>('/api/thing').subscribe(thing => ...)
  3. Interception - the new HttpInterceptor interface allows you to easily intercept requests and responses, without needing to extend the whole Http class yourself.

  4. Progress reporting - specify { reportProgress: true } when making a request, and the client will give periodic updates on the upload or download progress.

  5. Client testing module - now you can simply add HttpClientTestingModule to your test bed's imports, instead of setting up the MockBackend yourself. It also provides a new API, which looks like a more synchronous approach to testing.

  6. Proper error response - as I mentioned in Testing async data in Angular, it used to be tricky to test error responses (e.g. 404) because the mockError method took an Error, not a Response. As a workaround, I showed how to create a new class that combines the two. However, that's now provided as part of the module:

    export class HttpErrorResponse extends HttpResponseBase implements Error { ... }

    Hopefully this will make error handling neater and testing easier.

As I'd also been playing with @angular/material, I thought I'd combine 3 and 4 to create an automatically-updated progress bar, which shows the progress of the current request. First, I had to write an interceptor:

export class ProgressInterceptor implements HttpInterceptor {
  public progress$: Observable<number | null>;
  private progressSubject: Subject<number | null>;

  constructor() {
    this.progressSubject = new ReplaySubject<number | null>(1);
    this.progress$ = this.progressSubject.asObservable();

  intercept<T>(req: HttpRequest<T>, next: HttpHandler): Observable<HttpEvent<T>> {
    const reportingRequest = req.clone({ reportProgress: true });
    const handle = next.handle(reportingRequest);

    return HttpEvent<T>) => {
      switch (event.type) {
        case HttpEventType.Sent:
        case HttpEventType.DownloadProgress:
        case HttpEventType.UploadProgress:
          if ( {
   / * 100));
        case HttpEventType.Response:

This does two main things:

  • .clone the request object, setting the progress reporting flag. Most of the objects in the client are immutable, but provide helper methods to create new instances with updated configuration.

  • .subscribe to the events coming out of the handler. It switches on the type of the event to determine the start of the request, progress updates and the arrival of the response. At each step it sends updates using the "public observable, private subject" pattern I discussed in Handling data with the Angular AsyncPipe.

I then wrote a simple wrapper around the <md-progress-bar>, exposing its basic styling while hiding the other details of the API (the string literal types for mode and colour are defined in but not exposed by the Angular Material package, so I recreated them):

export type ProgressBarColor = 'primary' | 'accent' | 'warn';

type ProgressBarMode = 'determinate' | 'indeterminate' | 'buffer' | 'query';

  selector: 'pgs-progress-bar',
  template: `
    <md-progress-bar [value]="progressPercentage$ | async"
export class ProgressComponent implements OnInit {
  @Input() color: ProgressBarColor = 'primary';

  @ViewChild(MdProgressBar) private progressBar: MdProgressBar;

  progressPercentage$: Observable<number>;

  constructor(private interceptor: ProgressInterceptor) { }

  ngOnInit() {
    this.progressPercentage$ = this.interceptor.progress$
        .map(progress => {
          if (progress === null) {
            return 0;
          } else {
            return progress;

  private setMode(mode: ProgressBarMode) {
    this.progressBar.mode = mode;

This puts the progress bar into "indeterminate" mode, where it just shows that something is going on, if it receives null from the interceptor. If it receives a number, that's used as the value for current progress and the bar is switched into "determinate" mode, where it fills up from 0 to 100.

Finally I wrote a module to glue the two classes together and add the actual Angular Material progress bar:

const interceptor = new ProgressInterceptor();

  imports: [
  declarations: [
  providers: [
    { provide: ProgressInterceptor, useValue: interceptor },
    { provide: HTTP_INTERCEPTORS, useValue: interceptor, multi: true },
  exports: [
export class ProgressModule { }

Note that I create a single instance of the interceptor, which is then both used in the HTTP_INTERCEPTORS array and provided directly under its own name. If I'd used useClass: ProgressInterceptor then the client would have been using a different instance from the one in the component, and the progress bar would never get updated.

Now you can drop <pgs-progress-bar></pgs-progress-bar> anywhere into the application and it will show the status of the latest request made through the HttpClient, with no need for any additional wiring. You can also inject the ProgressInterceptor into anything else that needs to keep track of request progress.

This is just a toy implementation (one obvious issue: what if there are two parallel requests?) but hopefully shows what's possible with the new API. Note that the old client (in @angular/http) isn't going away just yet; the new one is available in parallel (in @angular/common/http) for the time being.

Update: an earlier version of this article both subscribed to and returned the handle from the interceptor - as VerSo pointed out in the comments (thanks!), this would mean that the request got made twice.

Comments !