RESTfu­­l Jav­a­ wit­h ­JAX­-­­RS 2.­0­ (Second Edition)

Building Links and Link Headers

JAX-RS 2.0 added some support to help you build Link headers and to embed links in your XML documents through the Link and Link.Builder classes:


public abstract class Link {
    public abstract URI getUri();
    public abstract UriBuilder getUriBuilder();
    public abstract String getRel();
    public abstract List<String> getRels();
    public abstract String getTitle();
    public abstract String getType();
    public abstract Map<String, String> getParams();
    public abstract String toString();

Link is an abstract class that represents all the metadata contained in either a Link header or Atom link. The getUri() method pertains to the href attribute of your Atom link. getRel() pertains to the rel attribute, and so on. You can also reference any of these attributes as well as any proprietary extension attributes through the getParams() method. The toString() method will convert the Link instance into a Link header.

Link instances are built through a Link.Builder, which is created by one of these methods:

public abstract class Link {
    public static Builder fromUri(URI uri)
    public static Builder fromUri(String uri)
    public static Builder fromUriBuilder(UriBuilder uriBuilder)
    public static Builder fromLink(Link link)
    public static Builder fromPath(String path)
    public static Builder fromResource(Class<?> resource)
    public static Builder fromMethod(Class<?> resource, String method)

All these fromXXX() methods work similarly to the UriBuilder.fromXXX() methods. They initialize an underlying UriBuilder that is used to build the href of the link.

The link(), uri(), and uriBuilder() methods allow you to override the underlying URI of the link you are creating:

public abstract class Link {
   interface Builder {
        public Builder link(Link link);
        public Builder link(String link);
        public Builder uri(URI uri);
        public Builder uri(String uri);
        public Builder uriBuilder(UriBuilder uriBuilder);

As you can probably guess, the following methods allow you to set various attributes on the link you are building:

        public Builder rel(String rel);
        public Builder title(String title);
        public Builder type(String type);
        public Builder param(String name, String value);

Finally, there’s the build() method that will create the link:

        public Link build(Object... values);

The Link.Builder has an underlying UriBuilder. The values passed into the build() method are passed along to this UriBuilder to create the URI for the Link. Let’s look at an example:

Link link = Link.fromUri("http://{host}/root/customers/{id}")
                .build("localhost", "1234");

Calling toString() on the link instance will result in:

<http://localhost/root/customers/1234>; rel="update"; type="text/plain"

You can also build relativized links using the buildRelativized() method:

        public Link buildRelativized(URI uri, Object... values);

This method will build the link instance with a relativized URI based on the underlying URI of the Link.Builder and the passed-in uri parameter. For example:

Link link = Link.fromUri("a/d/e")
                .buildRelativized(new URI("a"));

The URI is calculated internally like this:

URI base = new URI("a");
URI supplied = new URI("a/d/e");
URI result = base.relativize(supplied);

So, the String representation of the link variable from the example would be:

<d/e>; rel="update"; type="text/plain"

You can also use the baseUri() methods to specific a base URI to prefix your link’s URI. Take this, for example:

Link link = Link.fromUri("a/d/e")
                .buildRelativized(new URI("http://localhost/a"));

This example code would also output:

<d/e>; rel="update"; type="text/plain"

Built Link instances can be used to create Link headers. Here’s an example:

Response get() {
   Link link = Link.fromUri("a/b/c").build();
   Response response = Response.noContent()
   return response;

Just build your Link and add it as a header to your Response.

The Link class also contains a JAXB XmlAdapter so that you can embed links within a JAXB class. For example, let’s take our familiar Customer domain class and enable it to add one or more embedded links:


public class Customer {
   private String name;
   private List<Link> links = new ArrayList<Link>();

      public String getName()
         return name;

      public void setName(String name)
      { = name;

      @XmlElement(name = "link")
      public List<Link> getLinks()
         return links;

You can now build any links you want and add them to the Customer domain class. They will be converted into XML elements.