What the heck is HttpContext in Angular?

What the heck is HttpContext in Angular?

Adithya Sreyaj
·Feb 1, 2022·

3 min read

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Table of contents

  • HttpContext in Angular
  • How to use HttpContext in Angular?
  • Addtional Info
  • Connect with me

Have you heard about HttpContext in Angular? If not, there is such a thing. HttpContext is used to pass additional metadata to HTTP Interceptors in Angular.

HttpContext in Angular

HttpContext is used to store additional metadata that can be accessed from HTTP Interceptors. Before this, there was no proper way to configure interceptors on a per request basis. This feature was introduced by Angular v12.

If you had use cases where you need to treat a particular request differently or override some logic in an HTTP Interceptor, this is what you need to use.

I came to know about it only recently and actually started using it in one of my recent projects - Libshare.

How to use HttpContext in Angular?

Let's take a practical use case for understanding how to use HttpContext.

I was working on a small application that can be used to curate and share the libraries. Most of the APIs are authenticated, meaning we need to add Authorization header with all the API requests.

For pages like Login and Signup, we don't need to pass the token in the headers. Let's see how we can skip certain APIs and only add Bearer tokens to the other API requests.

The way we use it is pretty straightforward. There are two parts to it:

1. Create a new HttpContextToken

const IS_PUBLIC_API = new HttpContextToken<boolean>(() => false);

2. Passing the context while making http calls.

When using the HttpClient to make requests, you can pass the context along with other options. We create an instance of HttpContext class and use the set method to pass the value to the token we created above.

getSomeData(slug: string) {
    return this.http
      .get(<URL>, {
        context: new HttpContext().set(IS_PUBLIC_API, true),
      })
  }

3. Retrieve the data inside an Interceptor.

We can now retrieve the context data from the interceptor by accessing the request.context:

@Injectable()
export class AuthInterceptor implements HttpInterceptor {
  intercept(req: HttpRequest<any>, next: HttpHandler): Observable<HttpEvent<any>> {
    if (req.context.get(IS_PUBLIC_API)) {
      return next.handle(req);
    }
   // Add token to other requests
  }
}

You can check a practical usage here: Libshare Repo

Addtional Info

HttpContext is backed by a Map and so has methods like:

class HttpContext {
  set<T>(token: HttpContextToken<T>, value: T): HttpContext
  get<T>(token: HttpContextToken<T>): T
  delete(token: HttpContextToken<unknown>): HttpContext
  has(token: HttpContextToken<unknown>): boolean
  keys(): IterableIterator<HttpContextToken<unknown>>
}

The context is also type-safe, which is a good thing. Also, keep in mind that the context is mutable and is shared between cloned requests unless explicitly specified.

There are a lot of ways this could prove useful like if you want to cache only particular requests, or maybe add some additional headers conditionally.

Documentation: angular.io/api/common/http/HttpContext

Connect with me

Do add your thoughts in the comments section. Stay Safe ❤️

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