Unirest for Objective-C

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Unirest is a set of lightweight HTTP libraries available in multiple languages, built and maintained by Mashape, who also maintain the open-source API Gateway Kong.



Download the Objective-C Unirest Library from GitHub (or clone the repo) and import the folder into your project. You can also install Unirest-obj-c with CocoaPods.


If you decide to use CocoaPods, create a Podfile file in your project's folder:

$ edit Podfile
platform :ios, '5.0'
pod 'Unirest', '~> 1.1.4'

and then execute pod install. Make sure to always open the Xcode workspace instead of the project file when building your project:

$ open App.xcworkspace

Now you can import your dependencies:

#import <UNIRest.h>


The Unirest-Obj-C client library requires ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) to be enabled in your Xcode project. To enable ARC select your project or target and then go to Build Settings and under the section Apple LLVM compiler 3.0 - Language you will see the option Objective-C Automatic Reference Counting:

Enable ARC in Xcode

For existing projects, fortunately Xcode offers a tool to convert existing code to ARC, which is available at Edit -> Refactor -> Convert to Objective-C ARC

Creating Request

So you're probably wondering how using Unirest makes creating requests in Objective-C easier, let's look at a working example:

NSDictionary* headers = @{@"accept": @"application/json"};
NSDictionary* parameters = @{@"parameter": @"value", @"foo": @"bar"};

UNIHTTPJsonResponse *response = [[UNIRest post:^(UNISimpleRequest *request) {
  [request setUrl:@"http://httpbin.org/post"];
  [request setHeaders:headers];
  [request setParameters:parameters];
}] asJson];

Just like in the Unirest Java library the Objective-C library supports multiple response types given as the last parameter. In the example above we use asJson to get a JSON response, likewise there are asBinary and asString for responses of other nature such as file data and hypermedia responses.

Asynchronous Requests

For non-blocking requests you will want to make an asychronous request to keep your application going while data is fetched or updated in the background, doing so with unirest is extremely easy with barely any code change from the previous example:

NSDictionary *headers = @{@"accept": @"application/json"};
NSDictionary *parameters = @{@"parameter": @"value", @"foo": @"bar"};

[[UNIRest post:^(UNISimpleRequest *request) {
  [request setUrl:@"http://httpbin.org/post"];
  [request setHeaders:headers];
  [request setParameters:parameters];
}] asJsonAsync:^(UNIHTTPJsonResponse* response, NSError *error) {
  // This is the asyncronous callback block
  NSInteger code = response.code;
  NSDictionary *responseHeaders = response.headers;
  UNIJsonNode *body = response.body;
  NSData *rawBody = response.rawBody;

Cancel Asynchronous Request

You can cancel an asyncronous request by invoking the cancel method on the UNIUrlConnection object:

UNIUrlConnection *asyncConnection = [[UNIRest get:^(UNISimpleRequest *simpleRequest) {
    [request setUrl:@"http://httpbin.org/get"];
}] asJsonAsync:^(UNIHTTPJsonResponse *response, NSError *error) {
    // Do something

[asyncConnection cancel]; // Cancel request

File Uploads

Transferring files through request with unirest in Objective-C can be done by creating a NSURL object and passing it along as a parameter value with a UNISimpleRequest like so:

NSDictionary* headers = @{@"accept": @"application/json"};
NSURL* file = nil;
NSDictionary* parameters = @{@"parameter": @"value", @"file": file};

UNIHTTPJsonResponse *response = [[UNIRest post:^(UNISimpleRequest *request) {
  [request setUrl:@"http://httpbin.org/post"];
  [request setHeaders:headers];
  [request setParameters:parameters];
}] asJson];

Custom Entity Body

To send a custom body such as JSON simply serialize your data utilizing the NSJSONSerialization with a BodyRequest and [method]Entity instead of just [method] block like so:

NSDictionary *headers = @{@"accept": @"application/json"};
NSDictionary *parameters = @{@"parameter": @"value", @"foo": @"bar"};

UNIHTTPJsonResponse *response = [[UNIRest postEntity:^(UNIBodyRequest *request) {
  [request setUrl:@"http://httpbin.org/post"];
  [request setHeaders:headers];
  // Converting NSDictionary to JSON:
  [request setBody:[NSJSONSerialization dataWithJSONObject:parameters options:0 error:nil]];
}] asJson];

Basic Authentication

Authenticating the request with basic authentication can be done by setting the username and password properties in the builder:

UNIHTTPJsonResponse *response = [[UNIRest get:^(UNISimpleRequest *request) {
    [request setUrl:@"http://httpbin.org/get"];
    [request setUsername:@"user"];
    [request setPassword:@"password"];
}] asJson];


The Objective-C unirest library uses configuration blocks of type UNISimpleRequest and UNIBodyRequest to configure the URL, Headers, and Parameters / Body of the request.

+(UNIHTTPRequest*) get:(void (^)(UNISimpleRequestBlock*)) config;

+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) post:(void (^)(UNISimpleRequestBlock*)) config;
+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) postEntity:(void (^)(UNIBodyRequestBlock*)) config;

+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) put:(void (^)(UNISimpleRequestBlock*)) config;
+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) putEntity:(void (^)(UNIBodyRequestBlock*)) config;

+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) patch:(void (^)(UNISimpleRequestBlock*)) config;
+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) patchEntity:(void (^)(UNIBodyRequestBlock*)) config;

+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) delete:(void (^)(UNISimpleRequestBlock*)) config;
+(UNIHTTPRequestWithBody*) deleteEntity:(void (^)(UNIBodyRequestBlock*)) config;


The UNIHTTPRequest and UNIHTTPRequestWithBody can then be executed by calling one of:

-(UNIHTTPStringResponse*) asString;
-(UNIHTTPStringResponse*) asString:(NSError**) error;
-(UNIUrlConnection*) asStringAsync:(UNIHTTPStringResponseBlock) response;

-(UNIHTTPBinaryResponse*) asBinary;
-(UNIHTTPBinaryResponse*) asBinary:(NSError**) error;
-(UNIUrlConnection*) asBinaryAsync:(UNIHTTPBinaryResponseBlock) response;

-(UNIHTTPJsonResponse*) asJson;
-(UNIHTTPJsonResponse*) asJson:(NSError**) error;
-(UNIUrlConnection*) asJsonAsync:(UNIHTTPJsonResponseBlock) response;

Advanced Configuration

You can set some advanced configuration to tune Unirest-Obj-C:


You can set a custom timeout value (in seconds):

[UNIRest timeout:2];

By default the timeout is 60.

Default Request Headers

You can set default headers that will be sent on every request:

[UNIRest defaultHeader:@"Header1" value:@"Value1"];
[UNIRest defaultHeader:@"Header2" value:@"Value2"];

You can clear the default headers anytime with:

[UNIRest clearDefaultHeaders];

Made with ♥ from the Mashape team