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Posted 11 Feb 2011


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WP7: WebClient vs. HttpWebRequest

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4.89/5 (10 votes)
11 Feb 2011CPOL
Which one should you use?

Which one should I use?

WebClient is a wrapper class around the HttpWebRequest class that is used to perform Web service requests. WebClient can be easier to use because it returns result data to your application on the UI thread, and therefore your application does not need to manage the marshalling of data to the UI thread itself. However, if your application processes the Web Service data on the UI thread, the UI will be unresponsive until the processing is complete; causing a poor user experience, especially if the set of data being processed is large.”

Here is a sample fetching RSS using WebClient:

var client = new WebClient();
client.DownloadStringCompleted += (s, ev) => { responseTextBlock.Text = ev.Result; };
client.DownloadStringAsync(new Uri(""));

And here is the same code, using HttpWebRequest:

var request = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create(
                new Uri(""));
request.BeginGetResponse(r =>
    var httpRequest = (HttpWebRequest)r.AsyncState;
    var httpResponse = (HttpWebResponse)httpRequest.EndGetResponse(r);

    using (var reader = new StreamReader(httpResponse.GetResponseStream()))
        var response = reader.ReadToEnd();

        Deployment.Current.Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(new Action(() =>
                responseTextBlock.Text = response;
}, request);

Note that on the HttpWebRequest, you have to marshal back to the UI thread!

One quick note though, some mobile provider proxies block traffic if your user agent is said to be a mobile device… To get the appropriate response, I forced my UserAgent to IE9.

request.UserAgent = "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; MSIE 9.0; WIndows NT 9.0; en-US))";

I do not think there is a way of forcing the UserAgent on a WebClient.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionUser-Agent with WebClient Pin
mikespeti11-Sep-11 14:48
mikespeti11-Sep-11 14:48 

Try this, it worked for me Smile | :)
WebClient client = new WebClient();
client.Headers["User-Agent"] = "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; MSIE 9.0; WIndows NT 9.0; en-US))";

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
mbcrump24-Mar-11 7:52
mentormbcrump24-Mar-11 7:52 
GeneralUser Agent information Pin
snoopy00118-Feb-11 4:26
snoopy00118-Feb-11 4:26 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Member 432084414-Feb-11 11:39
Member 432084414-Feb-11 11:39 

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