Migration to Apache HttpClient 5.0 async APIs with simple message handlers

While HttpClient 5.0 classic APIs are largely compatible with HttpClient 4.0 APIs and can work with any InputStream / OutputStream based content processing library, the HttpClient 5.0 async APIs are completely different.

HttpClient 5.0 async APIs use an event-driven, reactive programming model based on the concept of channels and event handlers. The channels act as conduits for asynchronous data output. The event handlers react to asynchronous signals or events and communicate with the opposite endpoint through available channels.

Both the classic and the async models have their merits. The event-driven, reactive model tends to be efficient and convenient for communication protocols with message multiplexing such as HTTP/2. However async APIs generally not integrate well with InputStream / OutputStream based content processing libraries.

HttpClient 5.0 provides simplified request and response handlers that hide the complexity of the event-driven model by buffering message content in memory. Simplified APIs are intended as a temporary, intermediate step in the migration process or for productive use in scenarios where messages known to be limited in length and the opposite endpoints are either known to be well-behaved or specifically designed for simple message handlers.

Migration steps

  • Replace PoolingHttpClientConnectionManager with PoolingAsyncClientConnectionManager

    PoolingAsyncClientConnectionManager connectionManager = PoolingAsyncClientConnectionManagerBuilder.create()
                  .setTlsVersions(TLS.V_1_3, TLS.V_1_2)

    Please note that PoolingAsyncClientConnectionManager uses different TLS/SSL configuration. It also does not support SocketConfig configuration due to differences in the I/O model.

  • Replace CloseableHttpClient with CloseableHttpAsyncClient.

  • Select appropriate HTTP version policy. Presently supported policies are: NEGOTIATE, FORCE_HTTP_1 and FORCE_HTTP_2. When the NEGOTIATE policy is chosen, HttpClient attempts to negotiate the use of HTTP/2 through the TLS ALPN (application protocol negotiation) extension as long as it is supported by the default JSSE .

    CloseableHttpAsyncClient client = HttpAsyncClients.custom()

    When running on Java 9 or newer HttpClient can use TLS ALPN supported provided by the standard JSSE provider via reflection. When running on Java 1.7 or Java 1.8 it can automatically detect Conscrypt TLS library if it is present on the classpath and use its JSSE provider instead of the standard one shipped with the platform.

  • Unlike the classic client the asynchronous one needs to be started in order to be able to execute requests.

  • Request execution with simple asynchronous handlers is not that radically different than with the classic APIs. The major difference is that the result of the operation is controlled with a Future interface and is signalled with FutureCallback events.

    Message content processing for simple asynchronous handlers can be implemented with any library that can work with I/O streams (InputStream/OutputStream) or strings.

    CookieStore cookieStore = new BasicCookieStore();
    CredentialsProvider credentialsProvider = new BasicCredentialsProvider();
    HttpClientContext clientContext = HttpClientContext.create();
    JsonFactory jsonFactory = new JsonFactory();
    ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper(jsonFactory);
    SimpleHttpRequest httpPost = SimpleHttpRequests.post("https://httpbin.org/post");
    List<NameValuePair> requestData = Arrays.asList(
          new BasicNameValuePair("name1", "value1"),
          new BasicNameValuePair("name2", "value2"));
    httpPost.setBody(objectMapper.writeValueAsString(requestData), ContentType.APPLICATION_JSON);
    Future<?> future = client.execute(httpPost, new FutureCallback<SimpleHttpResponse>() {
      public void completed(SimpleHttpResponse response) {
          try {
              JsonNode responseData = objectMapper.readTree(response.getBodyText());
          } catch (IOException ex) {
              System.out.println("Error processing jSON content: " + ex.getMessage());
      public void failed(Exception ex) {
          System.out.println("Error executing HTTP request: " + ex.getMessage());
      public void cancelled() {
          System.out.println("HTTP request execution cancelled");
  • CloseableHttpAsyncClient instances should be closed when no longer needed or about to go out of score.