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

Example ex04_1: HTTP Method Extension

This example shows you how your JAX-RS services can consume HTTP methods other than the common standard ones defined in HTTP 1.1. Specifically, the example implements the PATCH method. The PATCH method was originally mentioned in an earlier draft version of the HTTP 1.1 specification:21

The PATCH method is similar to PUT except that the entity contains a list of differences between the original version of the resource identified by the Request-URI and the desired content of the resource after the PATCH action has been applied.

The idea of PATCH is that instead of transmitting the entire representation of a resource to update it, you only have to provide a partial representation in your update request. PUT requires that you transmit the entire representation, so the original plan was to include PATCH for scenarios where sending everything is not optimal.

Build and Run the Example Program

Perform the following steps:

  1. Open a command prompt or shell terminal and change to the ex04_1 directory of the workbook example code.
  2. Make sure your PATH is set up to include both the JDK and Maven, as described in Chapter 17.
  3. Perform the build and run the example by typing mvn install.

The Server Code

Using PATCH within JAX-RS is very simple. The source code under the ex04_1 directory contains a simple annotation that implements PATCH:


package org.ieft.annotations;

import java.lang.annotation.*;

public @interface PATCH

As described in Chapter 4, all you need to do to use a custom HTTP method is annotate an annotation class with This @HttpMethod declaration must contain the value of the new HTTP method you are defining.

To illustrate the use of our new @PATCH annotation, I expanded a little bit on the example code discussed in Chapter 18. A simple JAX-RS method is added to the CustomerResource class that can handle PATCH requests:



public class CustomerResource {

   public void patchCustomer(@PathParam("id") int id, InputStream is)
      updateCustomer(id, is);

The @PATCH annotation is used on the patchCustomer() method. The implementation of this method simply delegates to the original updateCustomer() method.

The Client Code

The client code for ex04_1 is pretty straightforward and similar to ex03_1. Let’s look at some initial minor changes we’ve made:



import org.junit.AfterClass;
import org.junit.BeforeClass;
import org.junit.Test;


 * @author <a href="">Bill Burke</a>
 * @version $Revision: 1 $
public class PatchTest
   private static Client client;

   public static void initClient()
      client = ClientBuilder.newClient();

   public static void closeClient()

First, we initialize our Client object within a JUNit @BeforeClass block. Any static method you annotate with @BeforeClass in JUnit will be executed once before all @Test methods are executed. So, in the initClient() method we initialize an instance of Client. Static methods annotated with @AfterClass are executed once after all @Test methods have run. The closeClient() method cleans up our Client object by invoking close() after all tests have run. This is a nice way of putting repetitive initialization and cleanup code that is needed for each test in one place.

The rest of the class is pretty straightforward and similar to ex03_1. I’ll highlight only the interesting parts:

      String patchCustomer = "<customer>"
              + "<first-name>William</first-name>"
              + "</customer>";
      response =
                       .request().method("PATCH", Entity.xml(patchCustomer));
      if (response.getStatus() != 204)
          throw new RuntimeException("Failed to update");

To make a PATCH HTTP invocation, we use the method. The parameters to this method are a string denoting the HTTP method you want to invoke and the entity you want to pass as the message body. Simple as that.

21 For more information, see