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10.0.1 • Public • Published


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Popsicle is the easiest way to make HTTP requests - a consistent, intuitive and tiny API that works on node and the browser. 9.37 kB in browsers, after minification and gzipping, including dependencies (with url being the bulk of it).

  .then(function (res) {
    console.log(res.status) //=> 200
    console.log(res.body) //=> { ... }
    console.log(res.headers) //=> { ... }


npm install popsicle --save


const popsicle = require('popsicle')
  method: 'POST',
  url: '',
  body: {
    username: 'blakeembrey',
    password: 'hunter2'
  headers: {
    'Content-Type': 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded'
  .then(function (res) {
    console.log(res.status) // => 200
    console.log(res.body) //=> { ... }
    console.log(res.get('Content-Type')) //=> 'application/json'

Popsicle is a promise-based HTTP request library designed for extensibility. Here's the functions you can import from popsicle:

  • request(options) The default request handler (also get)
  • defaults(options) Create a new Popsicle instance with defaults
  • form(obj?) Cross-platform form data object
  • plugins Exposes the default plugins (Object)
  • jar(store?) Create a cookie jar instance for Node.js
  • transport Default transportation layer (Object)
  • Request(options) Constructor for the Request class
  • Response(options) Constructor for the Response class

Request Options

  • url (string) The resource location.
  • method (string) The HTTP request method (default: "GET").
  • headers (object) A map of header key to value (default: {}).
  • query (object | string) A map or string to be appended to the URL as the query string.
  • body (any) An object, string, form data, stream (node) or other to pass with the request.
  • timeout (number) The number of milliseconds to wait before aborting the request (default: Infinity)
  • use (array) An array of plugins to override the defaults (default: [stringify(), headers()])
  • transport (object) Set the transport layer (default: createTransport({ type: 'text' }))

Built-in Plugins

stringify (default)

Automatically serialize the request body into a string (E.g. JSON, URL-encoded or multipart).

headers (default)

Sets up default headers for environments. For example, Content-Length, User-Agent, Accept, etc.


Automatically parses allowed response type(s).

  • json Parse response as JSON
  • urlencoded Parse response as URL-encoded
  .use(popsicle.plugins.parse(['json', 'urlencoded']))
  .then(() => ...)

Built-in Transports

Popsicle provides two transports, one for node (using {http,https}.request) and one for browsers (using XMLHttpRequest). These transports have a number of "types" built-in for handling the response body.

  • text Handle response as a string (default)
  • document responseType === 'document' (browsers)
  • blob responseType === 'blob' (browsers)
  • arraybuffer responseType === 'arraybuffer' (browsers)
  • buffer Handle response as a buffer (node.js)
  • array Handle response as an array of integers (node.js)
  • uint8array Handle the response as a Uint8Array (node.js)
  • stream Respond with the response body stream (node.js)

Node transport options

  • type Handle the response (default: text)
  • unzip Automatically unzip response bodies (default: true)
  • jar An instance of a cookie jar (popsicle.jar()) (default: null)
  • agent Custom HTTP pooling agent
  • maxRedirects Override the number of redirects allowed (default: 5)
  • maxBufferSize The maximum size of the buffered response body (default: 2000000)
  • rejectUnauthorized Reject invalid SSL certificates (default: true)
  • confirmRedirect Confirm redirects on 307 and 308 status codes (default: () => false)
  • ca A string, Buffer or array of strings or Buffers of trusted certificates in PEM format
  • key Private key to use for SSL (default: null)
  • cert Public x509 certificate to use (default: null)

Browser transport options

  • type Handle the XHR response (default: text)
  • withCredentials Send cookies with CORS requests (default: false)
  • overrideMimeType Override the XHR response MIME type

Short-hand Methods

Common methods have a short hand exported (created using defaults({ method })).


Default Instances

Create a new Popsicle instance with defaults pre-populated. Handy for a common cookie jar or transport to be used.

const cookiePopsicle = popsicle.defaults({
  transport: popsicle.createTransport({
    jar: popsicle.jar()

Automatically Stringify Request Body

Popsicle will automatically serialize the request body using the stringify plugin. If an object is supplied, it will automatically be stringified as JSON unless the Content-Type was set otherwise. If the Content-Type is application/json, multipart/form-data or application/x-www-form-urlencoded, it will be automatically serialized accordingly.

  url: '',
  body: {
    username: 'blakeembrey'
  headers: {
    'Content-Type': 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded'

Multipart Request Bodies

You can manually create a FormData instance by calling popsicle.form. When you pass a form data instance as the body, it'll automatically set the correct Content-Type - complete with boundary.

const form = popsicle.form({
  username: 'blakeembrey',
  profileImage: fs.createReadStream('image.png')
form.append('x', 'y'){
  url: '/users',
  body: form

Cookie Jar (Node only)

You can create a reusable cookie jar instance for requests by calling popsicle.jar.

const jar = popsicle.jar()
  method: 'post',
  url: '/users',
  transport: popsicle.createTransport({
    jar: jar

Request Class

Calling any of the request functions will return an instance of Request.

  • method (string) The request method.
  • timeout (number) Configured request timeout.
  • body (any) The request payload.
  • transport (object) The transportation layer.
  • events (object) A map of configured event listeners.
  • middleware (array) The list of configured middleware.
  • opened (boolean) A flag indicating the transport was started.
  • aborted (boolean) A flag indicating the request was aborted before finishing.
  • uploaded (number) The percentage of upload complete (between 0 and 1).
  • downloaded (number) The percentage of download complete (between 0 and 1).
  • uploadedBytes (number)_ Number of bytes uploaded.
  • downloadedBytes (number) Number of bytes downloaded.
  • uploadLength (number) Known size of total upload bytes.
  • downloadLength (number) Known size of total download bytes.
  • error(message, code, original?) Create a PopsicleError instance.
  • then(onFulfilled?, onRejected?) Promise interface.
  • catch(onRejected) Promise interface.
  • exec(cb) Callback interface.
  • toOptions() Return a new object representing the request options.
  • toJSON() A JSON friendly representation of the request.
  • clone() Return a new instance of Request from toOptions().
  • use(middleware) Append middleware to the current request.
  • on(event, fn) Attach an event listener.
  • off(event, fn) Detach an event listener.
  • once(event, fn) Attach an event listener that automatically detaches after the first execution.
  • emit(event, ...args) Emit an event (mostly internal use).
  • abort() Abort the current request by emitting the abort event.

P.S. When cloning a request instance, the current middleware and events are copied. This allows event tricks like abort() to also abort cloned request instances (e.g. in the case where working with request retries, and aborting should still work on re-attempts).


Promises are the most expressive interface. Just chain using Request#then or Request#catch and continue.

  .then(function (res) {
    // Success!
  .catch(function (err) {
    // Something broke.

If you live on the edge, try with generators (co) or ES7 async/await.

co(function * () {
  const users = yield popsicle.get('/users')
async function () {
  const users = await popsicle.get('/users')


For tooling that expects node-style callbacks, you can use Request#exec. This accepts a single function to call when the response is complete.

  .exec(function (err, res) {
    if (err) {
      // Something broke.
    // Success!


All requests can be aborted before or during execution by calling Request#abort.

const request = popsicle.get('')
setTimeout(function () {
}, 100)
request.catch(function (err) {
  console.log(err) //=> { message: 'Request aborted', code: 'EABORTED' }


The request object can be used to check progress at any time.

  • request.uploadedBytes Current upload size in bytes
  • request.uploadLength Total upload size in bytes
  • request.uploaded Total uploaded as a percentage
  • request.downloadedBytes Current download size in bytes
  • request.downloadLength Total download size in bytes
  • request.downloaded Total downloaded as a percentage
  • request.completed Total uploaded and downloaded as a percentage

All percentage properties (request.uploaded, request.downloaded, request.completed) are a number between 0 and 1. Aborting the request will emit a progress event, if the request had started.

const request = popsicle.get('')
request.uploaded //=> 0
request.downloaded //=> 0
request.on('progress', function () {
  console.log(request) //=> { uploaded: 1, downloaded: 0, completed: 0.5, aborted: false }
request.then(function (response) {
  console.log(request.downloaded) //=> 1


All response methods can return an error. Errors have a popsicle property set to the request object and a code string. The built-in codes are documented below, but custom errors can be created using request.error(message, code, cause).

  • EABORT Request has been aborted by user
  • EUNAVAILABLE Unable to connect to the remote URL
  • EINVALID Request URL is invalid
  • ETIMEOUT Request has exceeded the allowed timeout
  • ESTRINGIFY Request body threw an error during stringification plugin
  • EPARSE Response body threw an error during parse
  • EMAXREDIRECTS Maximum number of redirects exceeded (Node only)
  • EBODY Unable to handle request body (Node only)
  • EBLOCKED The request was blocked (HTTPS -> HTTP) (Browsers only)
  • ECSP Request violates the documents Content Security Policy (Browsers only)
  • ETYPE Invalid transport type

Response Class

Every response will give a Response instance on success. T

  • status The HTTP response status code
  • body The response body from the transport layer (usually text or a stream)
  • headers An object of lower-cased keys to header values
  • url The final response URL (after redirects)
  • statusType() Return an integer with the HTTP status type (E.g. 200 -> 2)
  • get(key) Retrieve a HTTP header using a case-insensitive key
  • name(key) Retrieve the original HTTP header name using a case-insensitive key
  • type() Return the response type (E.g. application/json)


Plugins can be set as an array with the initial options (which overrides default plugins), or they can be used via Request#use.

External Plugins

  • Server - Automatically mount a server on an available for the request (helpful for testing a la supertest)
  • Status - Reject responses on HTTP failure status codes
  • No Cache - Prevent caching of HTTP requests in browsers
  • Basic Auth - Add a basic authentication header to each request
  • Prefix - Prefix all HTTP requests
  • Resolve - Resolve all HTTP requests against a base URL
  • Limit - Transparently handle API rate limits by grouping requests
  • Group - Group requests and perform operations on them all at once
  • Proxy Agent - Enable HTTP(s) proxying under node (with environment variable support)
  • Retry - Retry a HTTP request on network error or server error
  • Rewrite - Rewrite request URLs dynamically
  • Cache - Enable caching for HTTP requests into a store (E.g. filesystem)

Helpful Utilities

  • throat - Throttle promise-based functions with concurrency support
  • is-browser - Check if your in a browser environment (E.g. Browserify, Webpack)
  • parse-link-header - Handy for parsing HTTP link headers

Creating Plugins

Plugins must be a function that accept config and return a middleware function. For example, here's a basic URL prefix plugin.

function prefix (url) {
  return function (self, next) {
    self.url = url + self.url
    return next()
  .then(function (response) {
    console.log(response.url) //=> ""

Middleware functions accept two arguments - the current request and a function to proceed to the next middleware function (a la Koa 2.x).

P.S. The middleware array is exposed on request.middleware, which allows you to clone requests and tweak middleware - for example, using request.middleware.slice(request.middleware.indexOf(currentFn)). This is useful, as the pre and post steps of previous middleware attach before currentFn is executed.

Transportation Layers

Creating a custom transportation layer is just a matter creating an object with open, abort and use options set. The open method should set any request information required between called as request._raw. Abort must abort the current request instance, while open must always resolve to a promise. You can set use to an empty array if no plugins should be used by default. However, it's recommended you keep use set to the defaults, or as close as possible using your transport layer.


This module is designed for ES5 environments, but requires two ES2015 polyfills to work:

  1. Promise - popsicle is designed heavily with promises in mind
  2. Object.assign - used internally for object cloning


This project is written using TypeScript and publishes the typings to NPM alongside the package.


Install dependencies and run the test runners (node and Electron using Tape).

npm install && npm test

Related Projects

  • Superagent - HTTP requests for node and browsers
  • Fetch - Browser polyfill for promise-based HTTP requests
  • Axios - HTTP request API based on Angular's $http service




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