WebException and the HttpWebResponse

The following code is used to make a request and get the results:

HttpWebRequest req = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create("http://bbrown.info/");
HttpWebResponse resp = (HttpWebResponse)req.GetResponse();
StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(resp.GetResponseStream());
string contents = reader.ReadToEnd();
resp.Close();

contents will contain the HTML of this blog if the server gives a 200 OK response. Anything else will throw a WebException. You can wrap the snippet above in a try-catch to handle a non-200, but the exception is thrown in the GetResponse call so you get nothing from the actual response. 404? May as well be a 500.

Today I discovered that the WebException itself has two properties: Response and Status. This Response is the same as the resp above so you can extract out the server response in the catch.

This whole behavior of HttpWebRequest is counterintuitive in the sense that a non-200 is not an exceptional circumstance; I would have expected the response to be accessible and the status code to be populated.

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