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15. URLConnections > 15.2. Reading Data from a Server

Reading Data from a Server

Here is the minimal set of steps needed to retrieve data from a URL using a URLConnection object:

  1. Construct a URL object.

  2. Invoke the URL object’s openConnection( ) method to retrieve a URLConnection object for that URL.

  3. Invoke the URLConnection’s getInputStream( ) method.

  4. Read from the input stream using the usual stream API.

The getInputStream() method returns a generic InputStream that lets you read and parse the data that the server sends.

public InputStream getInputStream( )

Example 15-1 uses the getInputStream() method to download a web page.

Example 15-1. Download a web page with a URLConnection

public class SourceViewer2 {

  public static void main (String[] args) {

    if  (args.length > 0) {
      try {
        //Open the URLConnection for reading
        URL u = new URL(args[0]);
        URLConnection uc = u.openConnection( );
        InputStream raw = uc.getInputStream( );
        InputStream buffer = new BufferedInputStream(raw);       
        // chain the InputStream to a Reader
        Reader r = new InputStreamReader(buffer);
        int c;
        while ((c = )) != -1) {
          System.out.print((char) c);
      catch (MalformedURLException ex) {
        System.err.println(args[0] + " is not a parseable URL");
      catch (IOException ex) {


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