How to: Read an HttpURLConnection Response into a String

28 February 2014 - Filed under android

While creating a library that wraps up asynchronous http connection requests I wrote a handy helper function that takes an open HttpURLConnection and reads the resulting input stream into a String. I figured it was useful to me, so it may be useful to someone else as well. I continue on in my library to parse the String into either XML or JSON; this function simply returns a raw String for you to use as you please.

private String TAG = "MyAwesomeApp";
 * @param connection object; note: before calling this function, 
 *   ensure that the connection is already be open, and any writes to 
 *   the connection's output stream should have already been completed.
 * @return String containing the body of the connection response or 
 *   null if the input stream could not be read correctly
private String readInputStreamToString(HttpURLConnection connection) {
    String result = null;
    StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer();
    InputStream is = null;

    try {
        is = new BufferedInputStream(connection.getInputStream());
        BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(is));
        String inputLine = "";
        while ((inputLine = br.readLine()) != null) {
        result = sb.toString();
    catch (Exception e) {
        Log.i(TAG, "Error reading InputStream");
        result = null;
    finally {
        if (is != null) {
            try { 
            catch (IOException e) {
                Log.i(TAG, "Error closing InputStream");

    return result;

Or if you prefer, check out the Gist

by Shayla Sawchenko