BBHTTP 0.9.7

BBHTTP 0.9.7

LangLanguage Obj-CObjective C
License Apache 2
ReleasedLast Release Dec 2014

Maintained by Unclaimed.

BBHTTP 0.9.7

  • By
  • Bruno de Carvalho

BBHTTP is a rich wrapper for libcurl written in Objective-C.

It is an ARC-only library that uses features introduced by Clang 3.1. Thus, it is only suitable for iOS 5+ and OSX 10.7+.

It boasts an extremely simple and compact interface that allows you to reduce your code to fire off HTTP requests down to a couple of clean lines, while preserving full flexibility should you ever need it.

[[BBHTTPRequest getResource:@""] execute:^(BBHTTPResponse* r) {
     NSLog(@"Finished: %u %@ -- received %u bytes of '%@'.",
           r.code, r.message, r.contentSize, r[@"Content-Type"]);
 } error:^(NSError* e) {
     NSLog(@"Request failed: %@", [e localizedDescription]);

// Finished: 200 OK -- received 68364 bytes of 'text/html'.

At this stage there are still a lot of rough edges to polish, bugs to fix and features missing to bring it up-to-par with other similar projects. I want to add those over time but help is always more than welcome so be sure to open issues for the features you'd love to see or drop me a mention @biasedbit on Twitter.

The API is very likely to keep mutating until this reaches 1.0.


  • Concise asynchronous-driven usage:

    [[BBHTTPRequest deleteResource:@""] execute:^(BBHTTPResponse* r) {
        // handle response
    } error:nil]];

    You don't even need to keep references to the requests, just fire and forget.

  • Handy common usage patterns:

    [[BBHTTPRequest getResource:@""] setup:^(id request) {
        // Prepare request...
    } execute:^(BBHTTPResponse* response) {
        // Handle response...
    } error:^(NSError* error) {
        // Handle error...
    } finally:^{
        // Do after error OR success.
    * Get JSON effortlessly:
    [[[BBHTTPRequest getResource:@""] asJSON] execute:^(BBHTTPResponse* r) {
        NSLog(@"User email: %@", r.content[@""]);
        NSLog(@"# of followers: %@", r.content[@"[email protected]"]);
    } error:^(NSError* error) {
        // Handle request *or* JSON decoding error

    Notice the keyed subscript operator behaves as valueForKeyPath: rather than valueForKey:. That's because JSON responses that would yield a NSDictionary get wrapped by BBJSONDictionary. Read more about the collection operators here.

    • Images too:
    [[BBHTTPRequest getResource:@""] setup:^(id request) {
        [request downloadContentAsImage];
    } execute:^(BBHTTPResponse* response) {
        UIImage* image = response.content; // NSImage on OSX
        NSLog(@"image size: %@", NSStringFromCGSize(image.size));
    } error:nil];

    This example uses downloadContentAsImage on the setup block to setup the image download & conversion but you could also use the fluent syntax alternative (asImage), just like on the JSON example above.

    • Stream uploads from a NSInputStream or directly from a file:
    [[BBHTTPRequest createResource:@"" withContentsOfFile:@"/path/to/file"]
     setup:^(BBHTTPRequest* request) {
         request[@"Extra-Header"] = @"something else";
     } execute:^(BBHTTPResponse* response) {
         // handle response
     } error:nil];

    The request's content type and content length headers will be automatically set based on the file's properties.

    • Download to memory buffers or stream directly to file/NSOutputStream:
    [[BBHTTPRequest getResource:@""] setup:^(BBHTTPRequest* request) {
        [request downloadToFile:@"/path/to/file"];
    } execute:^(BBHTTPResponse* response) {
        // handle response
    } error:nil];

    No need to delete the file if the download fails midway; BBHTTP will take care of keeping everything clean.

    • A power-dev API when you need that extra bit of control:
    BBHTTPExecutor* twitterExecutor = [BBHTTPExecutor initWithId:@""];
    BBHTTPExecutor* facebookExecutor = [BBHTTPExecutor initWithId:@""];
    twitterExecutor.maxParallelRequests = 10;
    facebookExecutor.maxParallelRequests = 2;
    BBHTTPRequest* request = [[BBHTTPRequest alloc]
                              initWithURL:[NSURL URLWithString:@""]
    request[@"Accept-Language"] = @"en-us";
    request.downloadProgressBlock = ^(NSUInteger current, NSUInteger total) { /* ... */ };
    request.finishBlock = ^(BBHTTPRequest* request) { /* ... */ };
    [twitterExecutor executeRequest:request];

    There are other built-in ways to handle content from responses. Be sure to read up the In-depth guide to response content handling.

    Likely TODO list

    • Multipart upload helpers
    • Follow redirects
    • Use curl's multi handles
    • Your bright idea here

    For a comprehensive list, be sure to visit the Roadmap wiki page.


    You mean other than its sleek API or the fact that it uses libcurl underneath?

    Well, unlike NSURLConnection and, consequently, any lib that relies on it, BBHTTP...

    • is strictly compliant with section 8.2.3 of RFC 2616, a.k.a. the misbeloved Expect: 100-Continue header;
    • can receive server error responses midway through upload — as opposed to continuing to pump data into socket eden, and eventually reporting connection timeout instead of the actual error response sent by the server.

    "But my uploads work just fine..."

    • If you only wrote code that uploads to a server, you've probably never noticed either of the above;
    • If you wrote both client and server-side code to handle uploads, chances are that you never ran into either of the above either;
    • If you're hardcore and wrote your own server and client and noticed NSURLConnection ignores errors until it finishes its upload, then this is the HTTP framework for you. Also, fistbump for writing your server and client. And paying attention to the specs.

    On a more serious tone, the motivation for this libcurl wrapper was that during development of Droplr's API server, we noticed that whenever the API rejected an upload and immediately closed the connection — which is a perfectly legal & reasonable behavior — the Cocoa-based clients would keep reporting upload progress (even though I knew the socket was closed) and eventually fail with "Request timeout", instead of the response the server had sent down the pipes.

    This meant that:

    1. NSURLConnection wasn't waiting for the 100-Continue provisional response before sending along the request body;
    2. NSURLConnection wasn't realizing that a response was already sent and the connection was dying until it finished uploading what it had to upload. stubborn bastard, eh?

    I did file a bug report but after a year of waiting for a response, I decided to come up with a working alternative. Coincidentally, the same day I let this library out in the open, I got a reply from Apple — closing the bug as a duplicate of some other I don't have access to.

    A couple of quick tests with command line version of curl proved that curl knew how to properly handle these edge cases so it was time to build a new HTTP framework for Cocoa.

    During that process, this handy build script was produced, so even if you don't want to use this library but are still interested in getting curl running on iOS, do check it out!


    • libcurl (read below)
    • libz.dylib
    • Security.framework
    • CoreServices.framework on OSX, MobileCoreServices.framework on iOS
    • AppKit.framework on OSX, UIKit.framework on iOS

    Note: You can find libcurl 7.29.1-DEV binaries and headers under Build/iOS/Static lib/libcurl and Build/OSX/Static lib/libcurl. There are two versions for iOS, compiled against 6.1 SDK. has support for for i386 (simulator), armv7 and armv7s (iPhone 3GS and newer) while libcurl.iOS.appstore.a only has support for arm architectures — making it smaller in size and thus optimized for releases. The OSX version was compiled against 10.8 SDK with support for x86_64 (64 bit Intel). If you'd like to build your own custom version, try this. All binaries are compiled with debug symbols so even though they appear large, they'll end up with 400~600KB.


    For guides on how to setup and start working with this lib, check out the wiki pages.

    The project also includes comprehensive class-level documentation. If you happen to have appledoc installed, just run the generate script on the Docs folder and it'll create html documentation for you under Docs/html.


    • Daniel Stenberg and everyone else involved in making cURL and libcurl
    • Nick Zitzmann for the Secure Transport TLS/SSL curl plugin
    • Ben Copsey for ASIHTTPRequest, which has been my HTTP workhorse on iOS since day 0


    BBHTTP is licensed under the Apache Software License version 2.0

    Get in touch

    I'm on twitter as @biasedbit. I also write every now and then.