Needed a quick stream to get JSON objects.


#include <istream>
#include <mutex>
#include <condition_variable>
#include <vector>
#include <curl/curl.h>
#include <string.h>

namespace ThorsAnvil
    namespace Stream

extern "C"  size_t writeFunc(char* ptr, size_t size, size_t nmemb, void* userdata);
extern "C"  size_t headFunc(char* ptr, size_t size, size_t nmemb, void* userdata);

class IThorStream;
class IThorSimpleStream: public std::istream
    friend class IThorStream;
    struct SimpleSocketStreamBuffer: public std::streambuf
        typedef std::streambuf::traits_type traits;
        typedef traits::int_type            int_type;

        SimpleSocketStreamBuffer(std::string const& url, bool useEasyCurl, bool preDownload, std::function<void()> markStreamBad)
            : empty(true)
            , open(true)
            , sizeMarked(false)
            , droppedData(false)
            , preDownload(preDownload)
            , sizeLeft(0)
            , markStreamBad(markStreamBad)
            curl = curl_easy_init();
            {   markStreamBad();
            curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_URL,                 url.c_str());
            curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION,      1L);
            curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_WRITEFUNCTION,       writeFunc);
            curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_HEADERFUNCTION,      headFunc);
            curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_WRITEHEADER,         this);
            curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_WRITEDATA,           this);
            curl_easy_setopt(curl, CURLOPT_PRIVATE,             this);

            if (useEasyCurl)
                /* Perform the request, res will get the return code */
                CURLcode result = curl_easy_perform(curl);
                if ((result != CURLE_OK) && (result != CURLE_WRITE_ERROR))
                {   markStreamBad();
        virtual int_type underflow()
            if (droppedData)
            {   markStreamBad();

            return EOF;
            friend size_t writeFunc(char* ptr, size_t size, size_t nmemb, void* userdata)
                std::size_t     bytes = size*nmemb;

                SimpleSocketStreamBuffer*  owner = reinterpret_cast<SimpleSocketStreamBuffer*>(userdata);
                std::unique_lock<std::mutex>     lock(owner->mutex);

                if ((!owner->empty) && (!owner->preDownload))
                    // Its not bad yet.
                    // It only becomes bad if the user tries
                    // to read any of this data. Then we mark
                    // it bad. So the actual marking bad is done
                    // in underflow().
                    return 0;//CURL_WRITEFUNC_PAUSE;
                owner->empty   = false;
                std::size_t oldSize = owner->buffer.size();
                owner->buffer.resize(oldSize + bytes);
                std::copy(ptr, ptr + bytes, &owner->buffer[oldSize]);
                owner->setg(&owner->buffer[0], &owner->buffer[0], &owner->buffer[oldSize + bytes]);
                if (owner->sizeMarked)
                    owner->sizeLeft -= bytes;
                    owner->open      = (owner->sizeLeft != 0);
                return bytes;
            friend size_t headFunc(char* ptr, size_t size, size_t nmemb, void* userdata)
                if (strncmp(ptr, "HTTP/", 5) == 0)
                    int   respCode  = 0;
                    char* space     = strchr(ptr+5, ' ');

                    if ((space != NULL) && (sscanf(space," %d OK", & respCode) == 1) && (respCode == 200))
                    {   /* GOOD */ }
                        SimpleSocketStreamBuffer*  owner = reinterpret_cast<SimpleSocketStreamBuffer*>(userdata);
                        std::unique_lock<std::mutex>     lock(owner->mutex);

                if (strncmp(ptr, "Content-Length:", 15) == 0)
                    SimpleSocketStreamBuffer*  owner = reinterpret_cast<SimpleSocketStreamBuffer*>(userdata);
                    std::unique_lock<std::mutex>     lock(owner->mutex);
                    owner->sizeLeft     = atoi(ptr+15);
                    owner->sizeMarked   = true;
                    if (owner->preDownload)
                return size*nmemb;
            bool                    empty;
            bool                    open;
            bool                    sizeMarked;
            bool                    droppedData;
            bool                    preDownload;
            std::size_t             sizeLeft;
            std::mutex              mutex;
            std::condition_variable cond;
            std::vector<char>       buffer;
            CURL*                   curl;
            std::function<void()>   markStreamBad;

    SimpleSocketStreamBuffer    buffer;

        IThorSimpleStream(std::string const& url, bool preDownload = false)
            : std::istream(NULL)
            , buffer(url, true, preDownload, [this](){this->setstate(std::ios::badbit);})



It was inspired by this gist:

Which uses an early version of this code and my JSON library to easily make REST calls to an HTTP enpoint and retrieve the JSON response object directly into an object with no manual parsing. The JSON parsing code has already been reviewed here:

JSON Serializer

  • \$\begingroup\$ The only thing which strikes me as odd is: Why does all the implementation have to reside in a header file? I usually try to keep my header files lean and mean. Unfortunately with template programming that is not always possible but unless I'm blind this doesn't apply here. \$\endgroup\$
    – ChrisWue
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 8:19
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisWue: Its called a header only library. It means that to use it you just need to #include the header file no further requirements on libraries required. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisWue: I am working on an async version that requires linking against a library (as there are certain limitations in the above implementation). The alternatives will be available for code review shortly. But you can see me tinkering in the git hub project: github.com/Loki-Astari/ThorsStream \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisWue: codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/38455/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 22:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mats-mug Available here: github.com/Loki-Astari/ThorsStream along with github.com/Loki-Astari/ThorsSerializer Cool gist of it in action gist.github.com/Loki-Astari/8201956#file-gistfile2-cpp \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


I have a few comments that are unrelated to the synchronous/asynchronous and/or header-only nature of the code.



I don't like passing bools as parameters. I really dislike a function like your SimpleSocketStreamBuffer constructor that take multiple bools. You need to do a fair amount of looking to be sure how:

foo x("www.google.com", false, true, bar);

differs from:

 foo x("www.google.com", true, false, bar);

(...and the same for the other variations as well). I'd strongly prefer to create an enumeration and have the parameters of that type.


I don't like passing a std::function as a parameter either. I'd prefer to see a template parameter to specify the function type, and then use an std::function only internally for storage. With those, the constructor looks something like this:

enum class curl_type { easy, hard };
enum class dl_strategy { lazy, greedy };

template <class func>
SimpleSocketStreamBuffer(std::string const& url, 
                         curl_type ct, 
                         dl_strategy download, 
                         func markStreamBad)

Then we modify the remainder to suit:

, preDownload(download == dl_strategy::greedy)


if (ct == curl_type::easy)
     // ...

Of course, if you're going to do this, you want to do it throughout (e.g., to the stream definition, not just the stream buffer definition).

Using these, defining an object looks more like this:

foo x("www.google.com", curl_type::easy, dl_strategy::greedy, bar);

...which strikes me as quite a bit more self-explanatory.

userdata pointer

In writeFunc and headerFunc, it would probably be best to verify that userdata isn't a null pointer before using it. Once you've verified that it's non-null, I think I'd prefer to define owner as a reference instead of a pointer:

SimpleSocketStreamBuffer & owner = *reinterpret_cast<SimpleSocketStreamBuffer*>(userdata);

This prevents accidentally re-assigning owner to point anywhere else, and (arguably) simplifies the rest of the code a bit by letting you use . instead of -> when you're dealing with the owner object.

buffer manipulation

I also don't particularly like the code you used to add data to the end of the buffer:

owner->buffer.resize(oldSize + bytes);
std::copy(ptr, ptr + bytes, &owner->buffer[oldSize]);

I think I'd prefer to just insert the data in a single step:

owner->buffer.insert(owner->buffer.end(), ptr, ptr + bytes);

lambda syntax

There's one other change I'd consider, but I'm a bit less certain about whether I'd actually make it. A lambda that takes no parameters doesn't need to include empty parens. Using this (and taking the preceding changes into account) the ctor for IThorSimpleStream can end up looking like this:

IThorSimpleStream(std::string const& url, dl_strategy s = dl_strategy::lazy)
    : std::istream(NULL)
    , buffer(url, curl_type::easy, s, [this]{this->setstate(std::ios::badbit); })

Particularly given the degree to which people are undoubtedly accustomed to using empty parens when defining functions, this could lead to some confusion. I suspect when people are more accustomed to lambda syntax, we'll probably view the empty parens are kind of foolish looking, but for now it may be better to leave them there.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I like all those. I did not know about dropping the empty param (not sure I like it (might get used to) but some experimenting is in order). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 8:05

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