In ASP.NET Core, we are used to working with dependency injection and we tend to pass most of the information through dependency injection to the classes where we need it. However, sometimes we work with information that is closely tied to a particular request and we don’t need, want, or can’t inject it into classes as dependencies. For such cases, there is HttpContext.Features.

The Features property is a simple collection of type IFeatureCollection, where we can store strongly typed objects and then retrieve them at places where we need them. This collection is available within HttpContext and is available throughout the request lifecycle. The ASP.NET Core framework itself uses this collection to store various information, for example:

  • IRouteValuesFeature - contains information about the parameters and their values from the request path
  • IEndpointFeature - contains information about the endpoint that processes the request

The Features property is also available to us and we can store our own information that we will need during the request processing. An example use case might be storing information about the current user, the current tenant, or other information that is necessary for processing the request with is bound in some way, or retrieved from the request itself.

Information is typically stored in Features within middleware that is registered within the application pipeline. The middleware can retrieve the information from the request, process it, and then store it in Features for further processing within the application.

An example of middleware that retrieves information about the current tenant from a request and stores it in Features might look like the following:

public class CurrentTenantInfoMiddleware(RequestDelegate next)
    private readonly RequestDelegate _next = next;

    public async Task InvokeAsync(HttpContext context, ITenantService tenantService)
        // 👇 More complex logic to determine the current tenant can be added here
        if (context.Request.Headers.TryGetValue("X-TenantId", out var routeValue)
            && Guid.TryParse(routeValue.First()?.ToString(), out var tenantId))
            var tenantInfo = await tenantService.GetTenantInfoAsync(tenantId);
            // 👇 Store the tenant info in Features

        await _next(context);

// 👇 Register the middleware

We can then access information about the current tenant from Features within other parts of the application:

app.MapGet("/api/", (HttpContext context) =>
    // 👇 Access the current tenant info from the context
    var currentTenantInfo = context.Features.Get<ICurrentTenantInfo>();
    return Results.Ok(currentTenantInfo?.Id);

For simplicity, we can create an extension method for IFeatureCollection:

public static class IFeatureCollectionExtensions
    public static ICurrentTenantInfo? GetTenant(this IFeatureCollection features)
        return features.Get<ICurrentTenantInfo>();

var tenantInfo = context.Features.GetTenant();

For completeness: another way to transfer information during one request is to use HttpContext.Items. This collection is available within HttpContext and is available throughout the request lifecycle. However, Items is not strongly typed. It is a key value. Therefore, it is preferable to use Features if we need to store strongly typed objects.