Start Parsing the Request

Start Parsing the Request

At this point the server is accepting connections, reading the request from the socket, then printing it to the screen. The next step is parsing information out of that request. These requests can get quite complex, especially when they come from a browser. Modern browsers advertise their willingness to accept a number of optimizations as well as report a bunch of information to the server. If this is your first time digging through an HTTP request it can be a little alarming just how much information you offer just to see if the server will give you some HTML.

A request coming from the curl utility will look something like this.

Request: GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost:8080
User-Agent: curl/7.58.0
Accept: */*

Starting on the first line you’ll notice the HTTP verb of this request GET and the path that’s requested /. If you change the options to curl you’ll notice this line change. We’ll start by parsing out this line.

At this point your adventure is going to take a bit of a turn based on what language and programming style you’re using. Many of you will be doing some sort of Object Oriented or procedural programming. In this case you’ll probably want an object or stuct to represent the request and the information about that request you’ve parsed out. If you want to use a different form of programming, you’ll still need some internal representation of the request in your codebase. Be as creative as you feel necessary for this project!


  • representation of the request in code
  • Extract the path and verb from the request