Apache HttpClient vs. CloseableHttpClient: Understanding the Difference in Java

Naveen Metta
4 min readMay 15, 2024
credit goes the owner : https://thetechstack.net/HTTP-Client/
source : thetechstack.net

In the realm of Java programming, networking and communication between applications and servers play a pivotal role. When it comes to making HTTP requests, Apache HttpClient and CloseableHttpClient are two commonly used libraries. However, understanding the nuances between them is crucial for optimal performance and functionality in your applications. In this article, we’ll delve into the depths of Apache HttpClient and CloseableHttpClient, dissecting each term and providing comprehensive code examples in Java.

Apache HttpClient

Apache HttpClient is a robust library for making HTTP requests in Java applications. It provides a rich set of features and flexibility, making it suitable for various use cases ranging from simple GET requests to complex interactions with RESTful APIs. Apache HttpClient has been around for quite some time and has garnered a reputation for reliability and stability.

Features of Apache HttpClient:

  1. Connection Management: Apache HttpClient manages connections efficiently, including connection pooling and reusing connections to improve performance.
  2. Request Configuration: It allows for fine-grained control over HTTP request parameters such as timeouts, proxy settings, and authentication.
  3. Pluggable Authentication: Apache HttpClient supports various authentication mechanisms like Basic, Digest, NTLM, and OAuth.

Code Example:

import org.apache.http.client.methods.HttpGet;
import org.apache.http.impl.client.CloseableHttpClient;
import org.apache.http.impl.client.HttpClients;
import org.apache.http.util.EntityUtils;
import org.apache.http.HttpResponse;

public class ApacheHttpClientExample {
public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
CloseableHttpClient httpClient = HttpClients.createDefault();
HttpGet request = new HttpGet("https://api.example.com/data");
HttpResponse response = httpClient.execute(request);

// Print response status code
System.out.println("Response Status: " + response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode());

// Print response body
String responseBody = EntityUtils.toString(response.getEntity());
System.out.println("Response Body: " + responseBody);

// Close the HttpClient
httpClient.close();
}
}

CloseableHttpClient

CloseableHttpClient is an extension of Apache HttpClient introduced in Apache HttpComponents version 4.3. It implements the Closeable interface, which allows for automatic resource management using Java's try-with-resources statement. CloseableHttpClient is essentially a more modern and convenient way to use Apache HttpClient.

Features of CloseableHttpClient:

  1. Automatic Resource Management: CloseableHttpClient automatically closes underlying resources like connections and sockets when no longer needed, reducing the risk of resource leaks.
  2. Simplified Usage: With CloseableHttpClient, you can use try-with-resources to ensure proper resource management without explicitly closing the client.

Code Example:

import org.apache.http.client.methods.HttpGet;
import org.apache.http.impl.client.CloseableHttpClient;
import org.apache.http.impl.client.HttpClients;
import org.apache.http.util.EntityUtils;
import org.apache.http.HttpResponse;

public class CloseableHttpClientExample {
public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
try (CloseableHttpClient httpClient = HttpClients.createDefault()) {
HttpGet request = new HttpGet("https://api.example.com/data");
HttpResponse response = httpClient.execute(request);

// Print response status code
System.out.println("Response Status: " + response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode());

// Print response body
String responseBody = EntityUtils.toString(response.getEntity());
System.out.println("Response Body: " + responseBody);
}
}
}

Apache HttpClient vs. CloseableHttpClient

Now that we have examined both Apache HttpClient and CloseableHttpClient individually, let’s compare them directly:

  • Usage Convenience: CloseableHttpClient offers a more convenient way to manage resources with try-with-resources, reducing boilerplate code compared to Apache HttpClient.
  • Resource Management: CloseableHttpClient automatically closes underlying resources, whereas with Apache HttpClient, you need to explicitly close the client to release resources.
  • Compatibility: CloseableHttpClient is compatible with Apache HttpClient, as it is essentially an extension of it. Therefore, existing Apache HttpClient code can be easily migrated to CloseableHttpClient.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each

Apache HttpClient:

Advantages:

  • Well-established with extensive documentation and community support.
  • Flexible and customizable for various HTTP request scenarios.
  • Provides detailed control over connection management and request configuration.

Disadvantages:

  • Requires manual resource management, which may lead to resource leaks if not handled properly.
  • May involve more boilerplate code compared to CloseableHttpClient.

CloseableHttpClient:

Advantages:

  • Automatic resource management reduces the risk of resource leaks.
  • Simplified usage with try-with-resources statement.
  • Seamless integration with modern Java practices.

Disadvantages:

  • Relatively newer compared to Apache HttpClient, so may have fewer resources and examples available.
  • Compatibility concerns with older versions of Apache HttpComponents.

Performance Considerations

When considering performance, both Apache HttpClient and CloseableHttpClient offer similar performance characteristics for basic HTTP request handling. However, CloseableHttpClient’s automatic resource management can lead to more efficient resource utilization in long-running applications or scenarios with high concurrency.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both Apache HttpClient and CloseableHttpClient serve the purpose of making HTTP requests in Java applications effectively. While Apache HttpClient provides robust features and flexibility, CloseableHttpClient offers enhanced convenience and automatic resource management. Depending on your specific requirements and coding preferences, you can choose the one that best fits your needs. In modern Java development, CloseableHttpClient is often preferred due to its simplicity and built-in resource management capabilities.

By understanding the differences between Apache HttpClient and CloseableHttpClient, you can make informed decisions when designing and implementing networking components in your Java applications, ensuring optimal performance and reliability.

With the additional content, we’ve delved deeper into the advantages, disadvantages, and performance considerations of both Apache HttpClient and CloseableHttpClient, providing a comprehensive understanding for Java developers.

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Naveen Metta

I'm a Full Stack Developer with 2.5 years of experience. feel free to reach out for any help : mettanaveen701@gmail.com