Klaasvaak Klaasvaak - 4 months ago 23
Java Question

How to access parameters in a RESTful POST method

My POST method looks like this:

@POST
@Consumes({"application/json"})
@Path("create/")
public void create(String param1, String param2){
System.out.println("param1 = " + param1);
System.out.println("param2 = " + param2);
}


When I create a Jersey Client in Netbeans the method who calls the post method looks like this:

public void create(Object requestEntity){
webResource.path("create").type(MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON).post(requestEntity);
}


When running this test:

@Test
public void hello(){
String json = "{param1=\"hello\",param2=\"hello2\"}";
this.client.create(json);
}


It gives the following output in the server:

INFO: param1 = {param1="hello",param2="hello2"}
INFO: param2 =


What do I need to change so that the parameters are giving the correct value?

Answer

Your @POST method should be accepting a JSON object instead of a string. Jersey uses JAXB to support marshaling and unmarshaling JSON objects (see the jersey docs for details). Create a class like:

@XmlRootElement
public class MyJaxBean {
    @XmlElement public String param1;
    @XmlElement public String param2;
}

Then your @POST method would look like the following:

@POST @Consumes("application/json")
@Path("/create")
public void create(final MyJaxBean input) {
    System.out.println("param1 = " + input.param1);
    System.out.println("param2 = " + input.param2);
}

This method expects to receive JSON object as the body of the HTTP POST. JAX-RS passes the content body of the HTTP message as an unannotated parameter -- input in this case. The actual message would look something like:

POST /create HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json
Content-Length: 35
Host: www.example.com

{"param1":"hello","param2":"world"}

Using JSON in this way is quite common for obvious reasons. However, if you are generating or consuming it in something other than JavaScript, then you do have to be careful to properly escape the data. In JAX-RS, you would use a MessageBodyReader and MessageBodyWriter to implement this. I believe that Jersey already has implementations for the required types (e.g., Java primitives and JAXB wrapped classes) as well as for JSON. JAX-RS supports a number of other methods for passing data. These don't require the creation of a new class since the data is passed using simple argument passing.


HTML <FORM>

The parameters would be annotated using @FormParam:

@POST
@Path("/create")
public void create(@FormParam("param1") String param1,
                   @FormParam("param2") String param2) {
    ...
}

The browser will encode the form using "application/x-www-form-urlencoded". The JAX-RS runtime will take care of decoding the body and passing it to the method. Here's what you should see on the wire:

POST /create HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded;charset=UTF-8
Content-Length: 25

param1=hello&param2=world

The content is URL encoded in this case.

If you do not know the names of the FormParam's you can do the following:

@POST @Consumes("application/x-www-form-urlencoded")
@Path("/create")
public void create(final MultivaluedMap<String, String> formParams) {
    ...
}

HTTP Headers

You can using the @HeaderParam annotation if you want to pass parameters via HTTP headers:

@POST
@Path("/create")
public void create(@HeaderParam("param1") String param1,
                   @HeaderParam("param2") String param2) {
    ...
}

Here's what the HTTP message would look like. Note that this POST does not have a body.

POST /create HTTP/1.1
Content-Length: 0
Host: www.example.com
param1: hello
param2: world

I wouldn't use this method for generalized parameter passing. It is really handy if you need to access the value of a particular HTTP header though.


HTTP Query Parameters

This method is primarily used with HTTP GETs but it is equally applicable to POSTs. It uses the @QueryParam annotation.

@POST
@Path("/create")
public void create(@QueryParam("param1") String param1,
                   @QueryParam("param2") String param2) {
    ...
}

Like the previous technique, passing parameters via the query string does not require a message body. Here's the HTTP message:

POST /create?param1=hello&param2=world HTTP/1.1
Content-Length: 0
Host: www.example.com

You do have to be particularly careful to properly encode query parameters on the client side. Using query parameters can be problematic due to URL length restrictions enforced by some proxies as well as problems associated with encoding them.


HTTP Path Parameters

Path parameters are similar to query parameters except that they are embedded in the HTTP resource path. This method seems to be in favor today. There are impacts with respect to HTTP caching since the path is what really defines the HTTP resource. The code looks a little different than the others since the @Path annotation is modified and it uses @PathParam:

@POST
@Path("/create/{param1}/{param2}")
public void create(@PathParam("param1") String param1,
                   @PathParam("param2") String param2) {
    ...
}

The message is similar to the query parameter version except that the names of the parameters are not included anywhere in the message.

POST /create/hello/world HTTP/1.1
Content-Length: 0
Host: www.example.com

This method shares the same encoding woes that the query parameter version. Path segments are encoded differently so you do have to be careful there as well.


As you can see, there are pros and cons to each method. The choice is usually decided by your clients. If you are serving FORM-based HTML pages, then use @FormParam. If your clients are JavaScript+HTML5-based, then you will probably want to use JAXB-based serialization and JSON objects. The MessageBodyReader/Writer implementations should take care of the necessary escaping for you so that is one fewer thing that can go wrong. If your client is Java based but does not have a good XML processor (e.g., Android), then I would probably use FORM encoding since a content body is easier to generate and encode properly than URLs are. Hopefully this mini-wiki entry sheds some light on the various methods that JAX-RS supports.

Note: in the interest of full disclosure, I haven't actually used this feature of Jersey yet. We were tinkering with it since we have a number of JAXB+JAX-RS applications deployed and are moving into the mobile client space. JSON is a much better fit that XML on HTML5 or jQuery-based solutions.