Making HTTPS requests with Finagle
May 10, 2015
I am currently maintaining a service at my day job that takes arbitrary events from mobile games and subsequently validates and processes them so that the customers who are sending this data to us can then view it with pretty graphs and other metrics via our dashboard. Our customers can then use this data to optimize their advertising campaigns and target certain publisher or user groups that they believe gives them a better return on investment.
Right now, the service is written in Python (using Flask) and has been functioning just fine, but we are rapidly expanding this service to be able to handle more and more events. Some of those events can require heavier processing that blocks the request thread, which is not good. I have been experimenting with Scala and Finagle (a high concurrency RPC framework) as we already use this stack for some of our more heavily trafficked services.
As I was exploring Finagle, I was running little toy services to make sure that it would be relatively easy to port everything over if we decided to go down that route. One of the events that we handle is receipt validation for in app purchases. For receipts from certain app stores, we need to make an RPC call to their servers where the response will have the result of the validation.
While trying to implement a basic HTTP service in Finagle, I stumbled into some difficulty when sending requests over HTTPS. Although Finagle is pretty well documented in general, I had trouble finding the answer to this issue. Hopefully, the following explanation will help others get unstuck with this issue in the future.
Validating Amazon Receipts
For this example, we're going to take the scenario of validating receipts with Amazon's receipt validation service. All of the specs and seemingly random strings shown in the code examples come straight from their documentation.
Our API for this service should allow a user to wrap an Amazon receipt inside of a request and feed it to our client. The service should look something like this.
This is where I started out and originally ran into some trouble. When calling the service, I would get an error that the connection was reset by peer. In other words, Amazon had had enough of my HTTP-with-no-TLS BS and refused to service my request.
The correct implementation for this is actually quite straightforward after
seeing it, but the documentation is not very clear. The private definition
service would change to the following
And would then be instantiated as
withTls method returns a client (or service factory, as Finagle calls them)
that will use TLS with requests. You can then create a service using this new
For the sake of completeness, I've included the definition of