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astaxie / bat

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Go implemented CLI cURL-like tool for humans. Bat can be used for testing, debugging, and generally interacting with HTTP servers.

Inspired by Httpie. Thanks to the author, Jakub.

Main Features

  • Expressive and intuitive syntax
  • Built-in JSON support
  • Forms and file uploads
  • HTTPS, proxies, and authentication
  • Arbitrary request data
  • Custom headers


go get -u github.com/astaxie/bat

make sure the $GOPATH/bin is added into $PATH


Hello World:

$ bat beego.me


bat [flags] [METHOD] URL [ITEM [ITEM]]

See also bat --help.


Basic settings - HTTP method, HTTP headers and JSON data:

$ bat PUT example.org X-API-Token:123 name=John

Any custom HTTP method (such as WebDAV, etc.):

$ bat -method=PROPFIND example.org name=John

Submitting forms:

$ bat -form=true POST example.org hello=World

See the request that is being sent using one of the output options:

$ bat -v example.org

Use Github API to post a comment on an issue with authentication:

$ bat -a USERNAME POST https://api.github.com/repos/astaxie/bat/issues/1/comments body='bat is awesome!'

Upload a file using redirected input:

$ bat example.org < file.json

Download a file and save it via redirected output:

$ bat example.org/file > file

Download a file wget style:

$ bat -download=true example.org/file

Set a custom Host header to work around missing DNS records:

$ bat localhost:8000 Host:example.com

Following is the detailed documentation. It covers the command syntax, advanced usage, and also features additional examples.

HTTP Method

The name of the HTTP method comes right before the URL argument:

$ bat DELETE example.org/todos/7

which looks similar to the actual Request-Line that is sent:

DELETE /todos/7 HTTP/1.1

When the METHOD argument is omitted from the command, bat defaults to either GET (if there is no request data) or POST (with request data).

Request URL

The only information bat needs to perform a request is a URL. The default scheme is, somewhat unsurprisingly, http://, and can be omitted from the argument – bat example.org works just fine.

Additionally, curl-like shorthand for localhost is supported. This means that, for example :3000 would expand to http://localhost:3000 If the port is omitted, then port 80 is assumed.

$ bat :/foo

GET /foo HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost

$ bat :3000/bar

GET /bar HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost:3000

$ bat :

GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost

If you find yourself manually constructing URLs with query string parameters on the terminal, you may appreciate the param=value syntax for appending URL parameters so that you don't have to worry about escaping the & separators. To search for bat on Google Images you could use this command:

$ bat GET www.google.com search=bat tbm=isch

GET /?search=bat&tbm=isch HTTP/1.1

Request Items

There are a few different request item types that provide a convenient mechanism for specifying HTTP headers, simple JSON and form data, files, and URL parameters.

They are key/value pairs specified after the URL. All have in common that they become part of the actual request that is sent and that their type is distinguished only by the separator used: :, =, :=, @, =@, and :=@. The ones with an @ expect a file path as value.

Item Type Description
HTTP Headers Name:Value Arbitrary HTTP header, e.g. X-API-Token:123.
Data Fields field=value Request data fields to be serialized as a JSON object (default), or to be form-encoded (--form, -f).
Form File Fields field@/dir/file Only available with -form, -f. For example screenshot@~/Pictures/img.png. The presence of a file field results in a multipart/form-data request.
Form Fields from file field=@file.txt read content from file as value
Raw JSON fields field:=json, field:=@file.json Useful when sending JSON and one or more fields need to be a Boolean, Number, nested Object, or an Array, e.g., meals:='["ham","spam"]' or pies:=[1,2,3] (note the quotes).

You can use \ to escape characters that shouldn't be used as separators (or parts thereof). For instance, foo==bar will become a data key/value pair (foo= and bar) instead of a URL parameter.

You can also quote values, e.g. foo="bar baz".


JSON is the lingua franca of modern web services and it is also the implicit content type bat by default uses:

If your command includes some data items, they are serialized as a JSON object by default. bat also automatically sets the following headers, both of which can be overwritten:

Content-Type application/json
Accept application/json

You can use --json=true, -j=true to explicitly set Accept to application/json regardless of whether you are sending data (it's a shortcut for setting the header via the usual header notation – bat url Accept:application/json).

Simple example:

$ bat PUT example.org name=John email=john@example.org
PUT / HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Content-Type: application/json
Host: example.org

    "name": "John",
    "email": "john@example.org"

Non-string fields use the := separator, which allows you to embed raw JSON into the resulting object. Text and raw JSON files can also be embedded into fields using =@ and :=@:

$ bat PUT api.example.com/person/1 \
name=John \
age:=29 married:=false hobbies:='["http", "pies"]' \  # Raw JSON
description=@about-john.txt \   # Embed text file
bookmarks:=@bookmarks.json      # Embed JSON file

PUT /person/1 HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json
Content-Type: application/json
Host: api.example.com

    "age": 29,
    "hobbies": [
    "description": "John is a nice guy who likes pies.",
    "married": false,
    "name": "John",
    "bookmarks": {
        "HTTPie": "http://httpie.org",

Send JSON data stored in a file (see redirected input for more examples):

$ bat POST api.example.com/person/1 < person.json


Submitting forms are very similar to sending JSON requests. Often the only difference is in adding the -form=true, -f option, which ensures that data fields are serialized correctly and Content-Type is set to, application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8.

It is possible to make form data the implicit content type instead of JSON via the config file.

Regular Forms

$ bat -f=true POST api.example.org/person/1 name='John Smith' \

POST /person/1 HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8


File Upload Forms

If one or more file fields is present, the serialization and content type is multipart/form-data:

$ bat -f=true POST example.com/jobs name='John Smith' cv@~/Documents/cv.pdf

The request above is the same as if the following HTML form were submitted:

<form enctype="multipart/form-data" method="post" action="http://example.com/jobs">
    <input type="text" name="name" />
    <input type="file" name="cv" />

Note that @ is used to simulate a file upload form field.

HTTP Headers

To set custom headers you can use the Header:Value notation:

$ bat example.org  User-Agent:Bacon/1.0  'Cookie:valued-visitor=yes;foo=bar'  \
X-Foo:Bar  Referer:http://beego.me/

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Cookie: valued-visitor=yes;foo=bar
Host: example.org
Referer: http://beego.me/
User-Agent: Bacon/1.0
X-Foo: Bar

There are a couple of default headers that bat sets:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: bat/<version>
Host: <taken-from-URL>

Any of the default headers can be overwritten.


Basic auth:

$ bat -a=username:password example.org


You can specify proxies to be used through the --proxy argument for each protocol (which is included in the value in case of redirects across protocols):

$ bat --proxy= example.org

With Basic authentication:

$ bat --proxy=http://user:pass@ example.org

You can also configure proxies by environment variables HTTP_PROXY and HTTPS_PROXY, and the underlying Requests library will pick them up as well. If you want to disable proxies configured through the environment variables for certain hosts, you can specify them in NO_PROXY.

In your ~/.bash_profile:

export HTTP_PROXY=
export NO_PROXY=localhost,example.com

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