Supported backends

sttp supports a number of synchronous and asynchronous backends. It’s the backends that take care of managing connections, sending requests and receiving responses: sttp defines only the API to describe the requests to be send and handle the response data. Backends do all the heavy-lifting.

Choosing the right backend depends on a number of factors: whether you are using sttp to explore some data, or is it a production system; are you using a synchronous, blocking architecture or an asynchronous one; do you work mostly with Scala’s Future, or maybe you use some form of a Task abstraction; finally, if you want to stream requests/responses, or not.

Which one to choose?

  • for simple exploratory requests, use the synchronous HttpURLConnectionBackend, or HttpClientSyncBackend if you are on Java11+.
  • if you have Akka in your stack, use Akka backend
  • otherwise, if you are using Future, use AsyncHttpClientFutureBackend Future backend, or HttpClientFutureBackend if you are on Java11+.
  • finally, if you are using a functional effect wrapper, use one of the “functional” backends, for ZIO, Monix, Scalaz, cats-effect or fs2.

Each backend has two type parameters:

  • F[_], the effects wrapper for responses. That is, when you invoke send(backend) on a request description, do you get a Response[_] directly, or is it wrapped in a Future or a Task?
  • P, the capabilities supported by the backend, in addition to Effect[F]. If Any, no additional capabilities are provided. Might include Streams (the ability to send and receive streaming bodies) and WebSockets (the ability to handle websocket requests).

Below is a summary of all the JVM backends; see the sections on individual backend implementations for more information:

Class Effect type Supported stream type Supports websockets Fully non-blocking
HttpURLConnectionBackend None (Identity) n/a no no
TryHttpURLConnectionBackend scala.util.Try n/a no no
AkkaHttpBackend scala.concurrent.Future[ByteString, Any] yes (regular & streaming) yes
AsyncHttpClientFutureBackend scala.concurrent.Future n/a yes (regular) no
AsyncHttpClientScalazBackend scalaz.concurrent.Task n/a yes (regular) no
AsyncHttpClientZioBackend zio.Task[Throwable, Byte] yes (regular & streaming) no
AsyncHttpClientMonixBackend monix.eval.Task monix.reactive.Observable[ByteBuffer] yes (regular & streaming) no
AsyncHttpClientCatsBackend F[_]: cats.effect.Async n/a no no
AsyncHttpClientFs2Backend F[_]: cats.effect.Async fs2.Stream[F, Byte] yes (regular & streaming) no
OkHttpSyncBackend None (Identity) n/a yes (regular) no
OkHttpFutureBackend scala.concurrent.Future n/a yes (regular) no
OkHttpMonixBackend monix.eval.Task monix.reactive.Observable[ByteBuffer] yes (regular & streaming) no
Http4sBackend F[_]: cats.effect.Effect fs2.Stream[F, Byte] no no
HttpClientSyncBackend None (Identity) n/a no no
HttpClientFutureBackend scala.concurrent.Future n/a yes (regular) no
HttpClientMonixBackend monix.eval.Task monix.reactive.Observable[ByteBuffer] yes (regular & streaming) yes
HttpClientFs2Backend F[_]: cats.effect.Async fs2.Stream[F, Byte] yes (regular & streaming) yes
HttpClientZioBackend zio.Task[Throwable, Byte] yes (regular & streaming) yes
FinagleBackend com.twitter.util.Future n/a no no

The backends work with Scala 2.11, 2.12 and 2.13 (with some exceptions for 2.11). Moreover, HttpURLConnectionBackend, AsyncHttpClientFutureBackend, AsyncHttpClientZioBackend, HttpClientSyncBackend, HttpClientFutureBackend and HttpClientZioBackend are additionally built with Dotty (Scala 3).

There are also backends which wrap other backends to provide additional functionality. These include:

  • TryBackend, which safely wraps any exceptions thrown by a synchronous backend in scala.util.Try
  • OpenTracingBackend, for OpenTracing-compatible distributed tracing. See the dedicated section.
  • PrometheusBackend, for gathering Prometheus-format metrics. See the dedicated section.
  • extendable logging backends (with an slf4j implementation) backends. See the dedicated section.

In addition, there are also backends for Scala.JS:

Class Effect type Supported stream type Supports websockets
FetchBackend scala.concurrent.Future n/a no
FetchMonixBackend monix.eval.Task monix.reactive.Observable[ByteBuffer] no

And a backend for scala-native:

Class Effect type Supported stream type Supports websockets
CurlBackend None (Identity) n/a no

Finally, there are third-party backends: