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

RESTEasy Client Proxies

The RESTEasy Client Proxy Framework is a different way of writing RESTful Java clients. The idea of the framework is to reuse the JAX-RS annotations on the client side. When you write JAX-RS services, you are using the specification’s annotations to turn an HTTP invocation into a Java method call. The RESTEasy Client Proxy Framework flips this around to instead use the annotations to turn a method call into an HTTP request.

You start off by writing a Java interface with methods annotated with JAX-RS annotations. For example, let’s define a RESTful client interface to the customer service application we have talked about over and over again throughout this book:

public interface CustomerResource {

   public Customer getCustomer(@PathParam("id") int id);

   public Response createCustomer(Customer customer);

   public void updateCustomer(@PathParam("id") int id, Customer cust);

This interface looks exactly like the interface a JAX-RS service might implement. Through RESTEasy, we can turn this interface into a Java object that can invoke HTTP requests. To do this, we use the org.jboss.resteasy.client.jaxrs.ResteasyWebTarget interface:

Client client = ClientFactory.newClient();
WebTarget target ="");
ResteasyWebTarget target = (ResteasyWebTarget)target;

CustomerResource customerProxy = target.proxy(CustomerResource.class);

If you are using RESTEasy as your JAX-RS implementation, all you have to do is typecast an instance of WebTarget to ResteasyWebTarget. You can then invoke the ResteasyWebTarget.proxy() method. This method returns an instance of the CustomerResource interface that you can invoke on. Here’s the proxy in use:

// Create a customer
Customer newCust = new Customer();
Response response = customerProxy.createCustomer(newCust);

// Get a customer
Customer cust = customerProxy.getCustomer(333);

// Update a customer
customerProxy.updateCustomer(333, cust);

When you invoke one of the methods of the returned CustomerResource proxy, it converts the Java method call into an HTTP request to the server using the metadata defined in the annotations applied to the CustomerResource interface. For example, the getCustomer() invocation in the example code knows that it must do a GET request on the URI, because it has introspected the values of the @Path, @GET, and @PathParam annotations on the method. It knows that it should be getting back XML from the @Produces annotation. It also knows that it should unmarshal it using a JAXB MessageBodyReader, because the getCustomer() method returns a JAXB annotated class.

Advantages and Disadvantages

A nice side effect of writing Java clients with this proxy framework is that you can use the Java interface for Java clients and JAX-RS services. With one Java interface, you also have a nice, clear way of documenting how to interact with your RESTful Java service. As you can see from the example code, it also cuts down on a lot of boilerplate code. The disadvantage, of course, is that this framework, while open source, is proprietary.