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This tutorial teaches you a number of features in .NET Core and the C# language. You'll learn:
- The basics of the .NET Core CLI.
- An overview of C# Language features.
- Managing dependencies with NuGet
- HTTP Communications
- Processing JSON information
- Managing configuration with Attributes.
You'll build an application that issues HTTP Requests to a RESTservice on GitHub. You'll read information in JSON format, and convertthat JSON packet into C# objects. Finally, you'll see how to work withC# objects.
There are many features in this tutorial. Let's build them one by one.
If you prefer to follow along with the final sample for this article, you can download it. For download instructions, see Samples and Tutorials.
You'll need to set up your machine to run .NET core. You can find theinstallation instructions on the .NET Core Downloadspage. You can run thisapplication on Windows, Linux, or macOS, or in a Docker container.You'll need to install your favorite code editor. The descriptions belowuse Visual Studio Code, which is an opensource, cross platform editor. However, you can use whatever tools you arecomfortable with.
Create the Application
The first step is to create a new application. Open a command prompt andcreate a new directory for your application. Make that the currentdirectory. Enter the following command in a console window:
This creates the starter files for a basic 'Hello World' application. The project name is 'WebAPIClient'. As this is a new project, none of the dependencies are in place. The first run will download the .NET Core framework, install a development certificate, and run the NuGet package manager to restore missing dependencies.
Before you start making modifications,
cd into the 'WebAPIClient' directory and type
dotnet run (see note) at the command prompt torun your application.
dotnet run automatically performs
dotnet restoreif your environment is missing dependencies. It also performs
dotnet build if your application needs to be rebuilt.After your initial setup, you will only need to run
dotnet restore or
dotnet buildwhen it makes sense for your project.
Adding New Dependencies
One of the key design goals for .NET Core is to minimize the size ofthe .NET installation. If an applicationneeds additional libraries for some of its features, you add thosedependencies into your C# project (*.csproj) file. For our example, you'll need to add the
System.Runtime.Serialization.Json package,so your application can process JSON responses.
You'll need the
System.Runtime.Serialization.Json package for this application. Add it to your project by running the following .NET CLI command:
Making Web Requests
Now you're ready to start retrieving data from the web. In thisapplication, you'll read information from theGitHub API. Let's read informationabout the projects under the.NET Foundation umbrella. You'llstart by making the request to the GitHub API to retrieve informationon the projects. The endpoint you'll use is: https://api.github.com/orgs/dotnet/repos. You want to retrieve all theinformation about these projects, so you'll use an HTTP GET request.Your browser also uses HTTP GET requests, so you can paste that URL intoyour browser to see what information you'll be receiving and processing.
You use the HttpClient class to make web requests. Like all modern .NETAPIs, HttpClient supports only async methods for its long-running APIs.Start by making an async method. You'll fill in the implementation as youbuild the functionality of the application. Start by opening the
program.cs file in your project directory and adding the following method to the
You'll need to add a
using directive at the top of your
Main method sothat the C# compiler recognizes the Task type:
If you build your project at this point, you'll get a warning generatedfor this method, because it does not contain any
await operators andwill run synchronously. Ignore that for now; you'll add
await operatorsas you fill in the method.
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Next, update the
Main method to call the
ProcessRepositories method. The
ProcessRepositories method returns a task, and you shouldn't exit theprogram before that task finishes. Therefore, you must change the signature of
Main. Add the
async modifier, and change the return type to
Task. Then, in the body of the method, add a call to
ProcessRepositories. Add the
await keyword to that method call:
Now, you have a program that does nothing, but does it asynchronously. Let's improve it.
First you need an object that is capable to retrieve data from the web; you can usea HttpClient to do that. This object handles the request and the responses. Instantiate a single instance of that type in the
Program class inside the Program.cs file.
Let's go back to the
ProcessRepositories method and fill in a first version of it:
You'll need to also add two new
using directives at the top of the file for this to compile:
This first version makes a web request to read the list of all repositories under the dotnetfoundation organization. (The GitHub ID for the .NET Foundation is
dotnet.) The first few lines set upthe HttpClient for this request. First, it is configured to accept the GitHub JSON responses.This format is simply JSON. The next line adds a User Agent header to all requests from thisobject. These two headers are checked by the GitHub server code, and are necessary to retrieveinformation from GitHub.
After you've configured the HttpClient, you make a web request and retrieve the response. Inthis first version, you use the HttpClient.GetStringAsync(String) convenience method. This convenience methodstarts a task that makes the web request, and then when the request returns, it reads theresponse stream and extracts the content from the stream. The body of the response is returnedas a String. The string is available when the task completes.
The final two lines of this method await that task, and then print the response to the console.Build the app, and run it. The build warning is gone now, because the
ProcessRepositories nowdoes contain an
await operator. You'll see a long display of JSON formatted text.
Processing the JSON Result
At this point, you've written the code to retrieve a response from a web server, and displaythe text that is contained in that response. Next, let's convert that JSON response into C#objects.
The System.Text.Json.JsonSerializer class serializes objects to JSON and deserializes JSON into objects. Start by defining a class to represent the
repo JSON object returned from the GitHub API:
Put the above code in a new file called 'repo.cs'. This version of the class represents thesimplest path to process JSON data. The class name and the member name match the names usedin the JSON packet, instead of following C# conventions. You'll fix that by providing someconfiguration attributes later. This class demonstrates another important feature of JSONserialization and deserialization: Not all the fields in the JSON packet are part of this class.The JSON serializer will ignore information that is not included in the class type being used.This feature makes it easier to create types that work with only a subset of the fields inthe JSON packet.
Now that you've created the type, let's deserialize it.
Next, you'll use the serializer to convert JSON into C# objects. Replace the call toGetStringAsync(String) in your
ProcessRepositories method with the following lines:
You're using new namespaces, so you'll need to add it at the top of the file as well:
Notice that you're now using GetStreamAsync(String) instead of GetStringAsync(String). The serializeruses a stream instead of a string as its source. Let's explain a couple features of the C#language that are being used in the second line of the preceding code snippet. The first argument to JsonSerializer.DeserializeAsync<TValue>(Stream, JsonSerializerOptions, CancellationToken) is an
await expression. (The other two parameters are optional and are omitted in the code snippet.) Await expressions can appear almost anywhere in your code, even thoughup to now, you've only seen them as part of an assignment statement. The
Deserialize method is generic, which means you must supply type arguments for what kind of objects should be created from the JSON text. In this example, you're deserializing to a
List<Repository>, which is another generic object, the System.Collections.Generic.List<T>. The
List<> class stores a collection of objects. The type argument declares the type of objects stored in the
List<>. The JSON text represents a collection of repo objects, so the type argument is
You're almost done with this section. Now that you've converted the JSON to C# objects, let's displaythe name of each repository. Replace the lines that read:
with the following: Commodores discography torrent download.
Compile and run the application. It will print the names of the repositories that are part of the.NET Foundation.
Before you add more features, let's address the
name property by using the
[JsonPropertyName] attribute. Makethe following changes to the declaration of the
name field in repo.cs:
[JsonPropertyName] attribute, you will need to add the System.Text.Json.Serialization namespace to the
This change means you need to change the code that writes the name of each repository in program.cs:
dotnet run to make sure you've got the mappings correct. You shouldsee the same output as before.
Let's make one more change before adding new features. The
ProcessRepositories method can do the asyncwork and return a collection of the repositories. Let's return the
List<Repository> from that method,and move the code that writes the information into the
Change the signature of
ProcessRepositories to return a task whose result is a list of
Then, just return the repositories after processing the JSON response:
The compiler generates the
Task<T> object for the return because you've marked this method as
async.Then, let's modify the
Main method so that it captures those results and writes each repository nameto the console. Your
Main method now looks like this:
Reading More Information
Let's finish this by processing a few more of the properties in the JSON packet that gets sent from theGitHub API. You won't want to grab everything, but adding a few properties will demonstrate a few morefeatures of the C# language.
Let's start by adding a few more simple types to the
Repository class definition. Add these propertiesto that class:
These properties have built-in conversions from the string type (which is what the JSON packets contain) tothe target type. The Uri type may be new to you. It represents a URI, or in this case, a URL. In the caseof the
int types, if the JSON packet contains data that does not convert to the target type,the serialization action will throw an exception.
Once you've added these, update the
Main method to display those elements:
As a final step, let's add the information for the last push operation. This information is formatted inthis fashion in the JSON response:
That format is in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) so you'll get a DateTime value whose Kind property is Utc. If you prefer a date represented in your time zone, you'll need to writea custom conversion method. First, define a
public property that will hold theUTC representation of the date and time in your
Repository class and a
readonly property that returns the date converted to local time:
Let's go over the new constructs we just defined. The
LastPush property is defined using an expression-bodied member for the
get accessor. There is no
set accessor. Omitting the
set accessor is how you define a read-only property in C#. (Yes,you can create write-only properties in C#, but their value is limited.)
Finally, add one more output statement in the console, and you're ready to build and run this appagain:
Your version should now match the finished sample.
This tutorial showed you how to make web requests, parse the result, and display properties ofthose results. You've also added new packages as dependencies in your project. You've seen some ofthe features of the C# language that support object-oriented techniques.
You don't have to run
dotnet restore because it's run implicitly by all commands that require a restore to occur, such as
dotnet publish, and
dotnet pack. To disable implicit restore, use the
dotnet restore command is still useful in certain scenarios where explicitly restoring makes sense, such as continuous integration builds in Azure DevOps Services or in build systems that need to explicitly control when the restore occurs.
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For information about how to manage NuGet feeds, see the
dotnet restore documentation.