A 'Response Handler' is the closure that is executed to parse the HTTP response that is returned from the server. Multiple handlers are usually defined, and correct handler is chosen based on the HTTP status code in the response.

Success vs Failure

Generally, status codes may be grouped into two categories - 'success' (any status less than 400) or 'failure' (400 or greater). Within the request configuration closure, handlers may be defined through the response property, which returns a map of response closures. This map may then be used to add response handlers for this request:

import groovyx.net.http.HTTPBuilder
import static groovyx.net.http.Method.GET
import static groovyx.net.http.ContentType.TEXT

new HTTPBuilder('http://www.google.com/').request(GET) { req ->

  response.success = { resp ->
    println 'request was successful'
    assert resp.status < 400

  response.failure = { resp ->
    println 'request failed'
    assert resp.status >= 400

These status handlers may be combined with more specific handlers that only handle a specific response code:

http.request(...) {
    // success handler
    // ...

    // only called for an HTTP 401 response code:
    response.'401' = { resp ->
        println 'access denied'

In all cases, a handler will first be retrieved by the exact status code, and if none is found, it will fall back to a generic 'success' or 'failure' handler.

A Note on 'Intermediate' Status Codes

In cases where a response sends a redirect status code, this is handled internally by Apache HttpClient, which by default will simply follow the redirect by re-sending the request to the new URL. You do not need to do anything special in order to follow 302 responses.

Similarly, a 401 status code can be handled transparently by HttpClient when authorization has been configured. In most cases, you (the user) are not interested in these 'intermediate' responses, so they are handled internally by the framework. If you want to handle these responses directly, it can be configured through the underlying HttpClient instance.

Similarly, HttpURLClient has a followRedirects property to configure redirect behavior.

Default Handlers

The default handlers are good for cases where the user is not interested in dealing with streaming responses. In this case, the response data is simply parsed (or buffered in the case of a binary or text response) and returned from the request method:

try {
    def response = new HTTPBuilder('http://www.google.com').request(GET,TEXT) {}

    assert response instanceof Reader // response data is buffered in-memory
    println response.text()
catch ( HttpResponseException ex ) {
    // default failure handler throws an exception:
    println "Unexpected response error: ${ex.statusCode}"

The default failure handler will throw an exception.

This behavior can also be customized by setting your own default handlers on the HTTPBuilder instance like so:

def http = new HTTPBuilder()

http.handler.success = { "Success!" }

http.handler.failure = { resp ->
    "Unexpected failure: ${resp.statusLine}"

// we can set code-specific default handlers as well:
http.handler.'404 = { 'Not Found' }

def result = http.get( uri:'http://www.google.com/asdfg' )
assert result == 'Not Found'