Refit

The automatic type-safe REST library for Xamarin and .NET

This project is maintained by paulcbetts

Refit: The automatic type-safe REST library for .NET Core, Xamarin and .NET

Refit is a library heavily inspired by Square’s Retrofit library, and it turns your REST API into a live interface:

public interface IGitHubApi
{
    [Get("/users/{user}")]
    Task<User> GetUser(string user);
}

The RestService class generates an implementation of IGitHubApi that uses HttpClient to make its calls:

var gitHubApi = RestService.For<IGitHubApi>("https://api.github.com");

var octocat = await gitHubApi.GetUser("octocat");

Where does this work?

Refit currently supports the following platforms and any .NET Standard 1.4 target:

Note about .NET Core

For .NET Core build-time support, you must use the .NET Core 2 SDK. You can target any supported platform in your library, long as the 2.0+ SDK is used at build-time.

API Attributes

Every method must have an HTTP attribute that provides the request method and relative URL. There are five built-in annotations: Get, Post, Put, Delete, and Head. The relative URL of the resource is specified in the annotation.

[Get("/users/list")]

You can also specify query parameters in the URL:

[Get("/users/list?sort=desc")]

A request URL can be updated dynamically using replacement blocks and parameters on the method. A replacement block is an alphanumeric string surrounded by { and }.

If the name of your parameter doesn’t match the name in the URL path, use the AliasAs attribute.

[Get("/group/{id}/users")]
Task<List<User>> GroupList([AliasAs("id")] int groupId);

Parameters that are not specified as a URL substitution will automatically be used as query parameters. This is different than Retrofit, where all parameters must be explicitly specified.

The comparison between parameter name and URL parameter is not case-sensitive, so it will work correctly if you name your parameter groupId in the path /group/{groupid}/show for example.

[Get("/group/{id}/users")]
Task<List<User>> GroupList([AliasAs("id")] int groupId, [AliasAs("sort")] string sortOrder);

GroupList(4, "desc");
>>> "/group/4/users?sort=desc"

Body content

One of the parameters in your method can be used as the body, by using the Body attribute:

[Post("/users/new")]
Task CreateUser([Body] User user);

There are four possibilities for supplying the body data, depending on the type of the parameter:

JSON content

JSON requests and responses are serialized/deserialized using Json.NET. By default, Refit will use the serializer settings that can be configured by setting Newtonsoft.Json.JsonConvert.DefaultSettings:

JsonConvert.DefaultSettings = 
    () => new JsonSerializerSettings() { 
        ContractResolver = new CamelCasePropertyNamesContractResolver(),
        Converters = {new StringEnumConverter()}
    };

// Serialized as: {"day":"Saturday"}
await PostSomeStuff(new { Day = DayOfWeek.Saturday });

As these are global settings they will affect your entire application. It might be beneficial to isolate the settings for calls to a particular API. When creating a Refit generated live interface, you may optionally pass a RefitSettings that will allow you to specify what serializer settings you would like. This allows you to have different serializer settings for separate APIs:

var gitHubApi = RestService.For<IGitHubApi>("https://api.github.com",
    new RefitSettings {
        JsonSerializerSettings = new JsonSerializerSettings {
            ContractResolver = new SnakeCasePropertyNamesContractResolver()
        }
    });

var otherApi = RestService.For<IOtherApi>("https://api.example.com",
    new RefitSettings {
        JsonSerializerSettings = new JsonSerializerSettings {
            ContractResolver = new CamelCasePropertyNamesContractResolver()
        }
    });

Property serialization/deserialization can be customised using Json.NET’s JsonProperty attribute:

public class Foo 
{
    // Works like [AliasAs("b")] would in form posts (see below)
    [JsonProperty(PropertyName="b")] 
    public string Bar { get; set; }
} 

Form posts

For APIs that take form posts (i.e. serialized as application/x-www-form-urlencoded), initialize the Body attribute with BodySerializationMethod.UrlEncoded.

The parameter can be an IDictionary:

public interface IMeasurementProtocolApi
{
    [Post("/collect")]
    Task Collect([Body(BodySerializationMethod.UrlEncoded)] Dictionary<string, object> data);
}

var data = new Dictionary<string, object> {
    {"v", 1}, 
    {"tid", "UA-1234-5"}, 
    {"cid", new Guid("d1e9ea6b-2e8b-4699-93e0-0bcbd26c206c")}, 
    {"t", "event"},
};

// Serialized as: v=1&tid=UA-1234-5&cid=d1e9ea6b-2e8b-4699-93e0-0bcbd26c206c&t=event
await api.Collect(data);

Or you can just pass any object and all public, readable properties will be serialized as form fields in the request. This approach allows you to alias property names using [AliasAs("whatever")] which can help if the API has cryptic field names:

public interface IMeasurementProtocolApi
{
    [Post("/collect")]
    Task Collect([Body(BodySerializationMethod.UrlEncoded)] Measurement measurement);
}

public class Measurement
{
    // Properties can be read-only and [AliasAs] isn't required
    public int v { get { return 1; }
 
    [AliasAs("tid")]
    public string WebPropertyId { get; set; }

    [AliasAs("cid")]
    public Guid ClientId { get;set; }

    [AliasAs("t")] 
    public string Type { get; set; }

    public object IgnoreMe { private get; set; }
}

var measurement = new Measurement { 
    WebPropertyId = "UA-1234-5", 
    ClientId = new Guid("d1e9ea6b-2e8b-4699-93e0-0bcbd26c206c"), 
    Type = "event" 
}; 

// Serialized as: v=1&tid=UA-1234-5&cid=d1e9ea6b-2e8b-4699-93e0-0bcbd26c206c&t=event
await api.Collect(measurement);

If you have a type that has [JsonProperty(PropertyName)] attributes setting property aliases, Refit will use those too ([AliasAs] will take precedence where you have both). This means that the following type will serialize as one=value1&two=value2:


public class SomeObject
{
    [JsonProperty(PropertyName = "one")]
    public string FirstProperty { get; set; }

    [JsonProperty(PropertyName = "notTwo")]
    [AliasAs("two")]
    public string SecondProperty { get; set; }
}

Setting request headers

Static headers

You can set one or more static request headers for a request applying a Headers attribute to the method:

[Headers("User-Agent: Awesome Octocat App")]
[Get("/users/{user}")]
Task<User> GetUser(string user);

Static headers can also be added to every request in the API by applying the Headers attribute to the interface:

[Headers("User-Agent: Awesome Octocat App")]
public interface IGitHubApi
{
    [Get("/users/{user}")]
    Task<User> GetUser(string user);
    
    [Post("/users/new")]
    Task CreateUser([Body] User user);
}

Dynamic headers

If the content of the header needs to be set at runtime, you can add a header with a dynamic value to a request by applying a Header attribute to a parameter:

[Get("/users/{user}")]
Task<User> GetUser(string user, [Header("Authorization")] string authorization);

// Will add the header "Authorization: token OAUTH-TOKEN" to the request
var user = await GetUser("octocat", "token OAUTH-TOKEN"); 

Authorization (Dynamic Headers redux)

The most common reason to use headers is for authorization. Today most API’s use some flavor of oAuth with access tokens that expire and refresh tokens that are longer lived.

One way to encapsulate these kinds of token usage, a custom HttpClientHandler can be inserted instead.

For example:

class AuthenticatedHttpClientHandler : HttpClientHandler
{
    private readonly Func<Task<string>> getToken;

    public AuthenticatedHttpClientHandler(Func<Task<string>> getToken)
    {
        if (getToken == null) throw new ArgumentNullException("getToken");
        this.getToken = getToken;
    }

    protected override async Task<HttpResponseMessage> SendAsync(HttpRequestMessage request, CancellationToken cancellationToken)
    {
        // See if the request has an authorize header
        var auth = request.Headers.Authorization;
        if (auth != null)
        {
            var token = await getToken().ConfigureAwait(false);
            request.Headers.Authorization = new AuthenticationHeaderValue(auth.Scheme, token);
        }

        return await base.SendAsync(request, cancellationToken).ConfigureAwait(false);
    }
}

While HttpClient contains a nearly identical method signature, it is used differently. HttpClient.SendAsync is not called by Refit. The HttpClientHandler must be modified instead.

This class is used like so (example uses the ADAL library to manage auto-token refresh but the principal holds for Xamarin.Auth or any other library:

class LoginViewModel
{
	AuthenticationContext context = new AuthenticationContext(...);
	private async Task<string> GetToken()
    {
		// The AquireTokenAsync call will prompt with a UI if necessary
		// Or otherwise silently use a refresh token to return
		// a valid access token	
        var token = await context.AcquireTokenAsync("http://my.service.uri/app", "clientId", new Uri("callback://complete"));

        return token;
    }

	public async void LoginAndCallApi()
	{
		var api = RestService.For<IMyRestService>(new HttpClient(new AuthenticatedHttpClientHandler(GetToken)) { BaseAddress = new Uri("https://the.end.point/") });

		var location = await api.GetLocationOfRebelBase();
	}
}

interface IMyRestService
{
	[Get("/getPublicInfo")]
	Task<Foobar> SomePublicMethod();

	[Get("/secretStuff")]
    [Headers("Authorization: Bearer")]
	Task<Location> GetLocationOfRebelBase();
}

In the above example, any time a method that requires authentication is called, the AuthenticatedHttpClientHandler will try to get a fresh access token. It’s up to the app to provide one, checking the expiration time of an existing access token and obtaining a new one if needed.

Redefining headers

Unlike Retrofit, where headers do not overwrite each other and are all added to the request regardless of how many times the same header is defined, Refit takes a similar approach to the approach ASP.NET MVC takes with action filters — redefining a header will replace it, in the following order of precedence:

[Headers("X-Emoji: :rocket:")]
public interface IGitHubApi
{
    [Get("/users/list")]
    Task<List> GetUsers();
    
    [Get("/users/{user}")]
    [Headers("X-Emoji: :smile_cat:")]
    Task<User> GetUser(string user);
    
    [Post("/users/new")]
    [Headers("X-Emoji: :metal:")]
    Task CreateUser([Body] User user, [Header("X-Emoji")] string emoji);
}

// X-Emoji: :rocket:
var users = await GetUsers();

// X-Emoji: :smile_cat:
var user = await GetUser("octocat");

// X-Emoji: :trollface:
await CreateUser(user, ":trollface:"); 

Removing headers

Headers defined on an interface or method can be removed by redefining a static header without a value (i.e. without : <value>) or passing null for a dynamic header. Empty strings will be included as empty headers.

[Headers("X-Emoji: :rocket:")]
public interface IGitHubApi
{
    [Get("/users/list")]
    [Headers("X-Emoji")] // Remove the X-Emoji header
    Task<List> GetUsers();
    
    [Get("/users/{user}")]
    [Headers("X-Emoji:")] // Redefine the X-Emoji header as empty
    Task<User> GetUser(string user);
    
    [Post("/users/new")]
    Task CreateUser([Body] User user, [Header("X-Emoji")] string emoji);
}

// No X-Emoji header
var users = await GetUsers();

// X-Emoji: 
var user = await GetUser("octocat");

// No X-Emoji header
await CreateUser(user, null); 

// X-Emoji: 
await CreateUser(user, ""); 

Multipart uploads

Methods decorated with Multipart attribute will be submitted with multipart content type. At this time, multipart methods support the following parameter types:

The parameter name will be used as the name of the field in the multipart data. This can be overridden with the AliasAs attribute.

To specify the file name and content type for byte array (byte[]), Stream and FileInfo parameters, use of a wrapper class is required. The wrapper classes for these types are ByteArrayPart, StreamPart and FileInfoPart.

public interface ISomeApi
{
    [Multipart]
    [Post("/users/{id}/photo")]
    Task UploadPhoto(int id, [AliasAs("myPhoto")] StreamPart stream);
}

To pass a Stream to this method, construct a StreamPart object like so:

someApiInstance.UploadPhoto(id, new StreamPart(myPhotoStream, "photo.jpg", "image/jpeg"));

Note: The AttachmentName attribute that was previously described in this section has been deprecated and its use is not recommended.

Retrieving the response

Note that in Refit unlike in Retrofit, there is no option for a synchronous network request - all requests must be async, either via Task or via IObservable. There is also no option to create an async method via a Callback parameter unlike Retrofit, because we live in the async/await future.

Similarly to how body content changes via the parameter type, the return type will determine the content returned.

Returning Task without a type parameter will discard the content and solely tell you whether or not the call succeeded:

[Post("/users/new")]
Task CreateUser([Body] User user);

// This will throw if the network call fails
await CreateUser(someUser);

If the type parameter is ‘HttpResponseMessage’ or ‘string’, the raw response message or the content as a string will be returned respectively.

// Returns the content as a string (i.e. the JSON data)
[Get("/users/{user}")]
Task<string> GetUser(string user);

// Returns the raw response, as an IObservable that can be used with the
// Reactive Extensions
[Get("/users/{user}")]
IObservable<HttpResponseMessage> GetUser(string user);

Using generic interfaces

When using something like ASP.NET Web API, it’s a fairly common pattern to have a whole stack of CRUD REST services. Refit now supports these, allowing you to define a single API interface with a generic type:

public interface IReallyExcitingCrudApi<T, in TKey> where T : class
{
    [Post("")]
    Task<T> Create([Body] T paylod);

    [Get("")]
    Task<List<T>> ReadAll();

    [Get("/{key}")]
    Task<T> ReadOne(TKey key);

    [Put("/{key}")]
    Task Update(TKey key, [Body]T payload);

    [Delete("/{key}")]
    Task Delete(TKey key);
}

Which can be used like this:

// The "/users" part here is kind of important if you want it to work for more 
// than one type (unless you have a different domain for each type)
var api = RestService.For<IReallyExcitingCrudApi<User, string>>("http://api.example.com/users");