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Requests Under The Hood


Requests is widely acknowledged as a library that saves users an enormous amount of time, effort, and pain through its intuitive and clear API. For this reason, most people who have never looked at the code assume that its code is as intuitive, well-structured, and clear as the API.

Of course, the truth is more complex than that. Real software that deals with real problems is rarely ideal: there are edge cases, terrible hacks, and awkward workarounds for problems.

Often in the software industry we pretend that these imperfections in our software don’t exist, or we try to hide them. These imperfections frequently cause people to reinvent wheels in order to simplify the code, which has benefits for understandability but frequently has downsides for resilience. When people talk about “battle-tested” code, they mean code that has been dirtied up over time from its original Platonic ideal implementation to something that is just as complex and warty as real life.

In this talk, one of the Requests and urllib3 core maintainers lays bare all of the worst and hackiest corners of the codebases of these two libraries. The goal is to help expose all of the invisible work done in mature codebases to tolerate edge cases and misbehaviour, as well as to try to remind us all that the perfect is the enemy of the good.


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