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Fetching web pages and web data as a string in Google Android

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

I have been battling with a seemingly easy task of fetching a website as a string today in Android and surprisingly it is not as easy as one might think.

My first issue, which was not returning a SecurityException as I had read it would, was the permissions issue. Android has a very strict (this is a good thing) permissions structure, in which you must request permission in your application to access all hardware features, and most user-specific data on the device. I had forgotten to poll Android for permissions to android.permission.INTERNET. As you can probably imagine, this grants access to use the device's internet (as well as sockets) and I was getting an exception thrown as "unknown error". First problem resolved.

My second issue was that I could not find an easy way to fetch a web site, such as I was used to doing in .NET with a simple WebClient. So without further explanation, here is how you fetch a website in Android, get the data as a stream, and return that stream as a string:

String myUrl = "";
URL url = new URL(myUrl);
URLConnection uconn = url.openConnection();
HttpURLConnection conn = (HttpURLConnection)uconn;
Object content = conn.getContent(); stream = (; din = new;
StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer();
String line = null;
while((line=din.readLine()) != null){

The final string will be available in sb.toString().

I would have thought that these days fetching a page shouldn't have been so cast-tastic and convoluted just to get the data from a website... but then again who thinks these days anyways.

Web Fetchin' Tom Out.



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