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Using HTTP


HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is the protocol which is used to transfer files through internet: web pages, images, etc. It consists of a client-server architecture where the client sends requests, and the server sends back responses containing the requested resources.

SFML provides a class which implements a HTTP client: sf::Http.


An HTTP request in SFML is represented by the sf::Http::Request class. It contains five members:

Each of these five members can be set through an accessor of the sf::Http::Request:

sf::Http::Request Request;
Request.SetHttpVersion(1, 0);
Request.SetField("From", "my_email@gmail.com");

Note that all these members have a correct default value; SFML always makes sure that your requests are well-formed so that you can focus on the important parameters (most likely the target URI).
This request could thus be simplified to the following piece of code:

sf::Http::Request Request;


After sending a request (we'll see that in the next section), you receive a response from the server. Such a response is represented by the sf::Http::Response class in SFML.

A response consists of four members:

All these members can be read through accessors of the sf::Http::Response class:

sf::Http::Response Response;
sf::Http::Response::Status Status = Response.GetStatus();
unsigned int Major = Response.GetMajorHttpVersion();
unsigned int Minor = Response.GetMinorHttpVersion();
std::string Body = Response.GetBody();
std::string Type = Response.GetField("Content-Type");

Statuses are described in the sf::Http::Response::Status enumeration. There are multiple success codes, but the most common one is sf::Http::Response::Ok.

Putting it all together

Now that you can write requests and read responses, you only need to know two more things: connecting to an HTTP server, and sending requests.

Connection to a server can be done through the SetHost function:

sf::Http Http;

In fact, this function does nothing more than storing the host name, the actual connection is done each time you send a request, and is closed after receiving the response. This is why this function is called SetHost rather than Connect.

This function can accept an additionnal parameter: the network port to use for connection. If you don't explicitely specify it, SFML will just use the default port associated to the protocol: 80 for HTTP, and 443 for HTTPS.

Once the host server is set, you can send requests with the SendRequest function:

sf::Http::Response Response = Http.SendRequest(Request);

This function takes an argument of type sf::Http::Request, and returns an instance of sf::Http::Response.

That's all for the interface of the sf::Http class, only two functions! There's no need to explicitely disconnect from the server, as the connection is automatically closed after each call to SendRequest


The sf::Http class is a powerful tool for manipulating the HTTP protocol, and access web page or files through internet.
Let's now have a look at its friend, the FTP protocol.