The bulk of my career has been spent working with and implementing distributed middleware. In the mid-’90s I worked for the parent company of Open Environment Corporation working on DCE tools. Later on, I worked for Iona, developing its next-generation CORBA ORB. Currently, I work for the JBoss division of Red Hat, which is entrenched in Java middleware, specifically Java EE. So, you could say that I have a pretty rich perspective when it comes to middleware.
I must tell you that I was originally very skeptical of REST as a way of writing SOA applications. It seemed way too simple and shortsighted, so I sort of blew it off for a while. One day, though, back in mid-2007, I ran into my old Iona boss and mentor, Steve Vinoski, while grabbing a sandwich at D’Angelo in Westford, Massachusetts, near Red Hat’s offices. We ended up sitting down, having lunch, and talking for hours. The first shocker for me was that Steve had left Iona to go work for a start-up. The second was when he said, “Bill, I’ve abandoned CORBA and WS-* for REST.” For those of you who don’t know Steve, he contributed heavily to the CORBA specification, wrote a book on the subject (which is basically the CORBA bible), and is a giant in the distributed computing field, writing regularly for C++ Report and IEEE. How could the guy I looked up to and who was responsible for my foundation in distributed computing abandon CORBA, WS-*, and the distributed framework landscape he was instrumental in creating? I felt a little betrayed and very unnerved. (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little…)
We ended up arguing for a few hours about which was better—WS-*/CORBA or REST. This conversation spilled into many other lengthy email messages, with me trying to promote WS-* and him defending REST. The funniest thing to me was that as I researched REST more and more I found that my arguments with Steve were just another endless replay of debates that had been raging across the blogosphere for years. They are still raging to this day.
It took months for me to change my mind and embrace REST. You would figure that my distributed computing background was an asset, but it was not. DCE, CORBA, WS-*, and Java EE were all baggage. All were an invisible barrier for me to accept REST as a viable (and better) alternative for writing SOA applications. I think that’s what I liked most about REST. It required me to rethink and reformulate the foundation of my distributed computing knowledge. Hopefully your journey isn’t as difficult as mine and you will be a little less stubborn and more open-minded than I was.
This book teaches you how to design and develop distributed web services in Java using RESTful architectural principles on top of the HTTP protocol. It is mostly a comprehensive reference guide on the JAX-RS specification, which is a JCP standardized annotation framework for writing RESTful web services in Java.
While this book does go into many of the fundamentals of REST, it does not cover them all and focuses more on implementation rather than theory. You can satisfy your craving for more RESTful theory by obtaining RESTful Web Services by Leonard Richardson and Sam Ruby (O’Reilly). If you are familiar with writing Java EE applications, you will be very comfortable reading this book. If you are not, you will be at a disadvantage, but some experience with web application development, HTTP, and XML is a huge plus. Before reading this book, you should also be fairly fluent in the Java language and specifically know how to use and apply Java annotations. If you are unfamiliar with the Java language, I recommend Learning Java by Patrick Niemeyer and Jonathan Knudsen (O’Reilly).
This book is organized into two parts: the technical manuscript, followed by the JAX-RS workbook. The technical manuscript explains what REST and JAX-RS are, how they work, and when to use them. The JAX-RS workbook provides step-by-step instructions for installing, configuring, and running the JAX-RS examples from the manuscript with the JBoss RESTEasy framework, an implementation of JAX-RS.
Part I starts off with a brief introduction to REST and HTTP. It then guides you through the basics of the JAX-RS specification, and then in later chapters shows how you can apply JAX-RS to build RESTful web services:
@Pathannotation and subresources. For the second edition, I talk about some of the ambiguities of the request matching algorithm.
ParamConverterfeatures introduced in JAX-RS 2.0.
Responseobject and how you use it to return complex responses to your client (
ResponseBuilder). It also explains how exception and error handling work in JAX-RS. This chapter has been revised a little bit to talk about the new exception hierarchy that was added in JAX-RS 2.0.
UriBuilder). This chapter has been revised for the second edition to include additions to the
UriBuilderAPI and the new classes for building links.
java.net.URL, Apache HTTP Client, and RESTEasy Proxy).
The JAX-RS workbook shows you how to execute examples from chapters in the book that include at least one significant example. You’ll want to read the introduction to the workbook to set up RESTEasy and configure it for the examples. After that, just go to the workbook chapter that matches the chapter you’re reading. For example, if you are reading Chapter 3 on writing your first JAX-RS service, use Chapter 18 of the workbook to develop and run the examples with RESTEasy.
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
Constant width bold
Constant width italic
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Supplemental material (code examples, exercises, etc.) is available for download at https://github.com/oreillymedia/restful_java_jax-rs_2_0.
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First, I’d like to thank Steve Vinoski for introducing me to REST. Without our conversations and arguments, I would never have written this book. Next, I’d like to thank Marek Potociar and Santiago Pericas-Geertsen, the JAX-RS 2.0 spec leads. They ran an excellent expert group and put up with a lot of crap from me. I’d like to thank Sergey Beryozkin for contributing the Apache CXF section. It is cool when competitors can be on good terms with each other. Fernando Nasser, Jeff Mesnil, and Michael Musgrove were instrumental in reviewing this book and provided a lot of great feedback. Subbu Allaraju helped tremendously in making sure my understanding and explanation of RESTful theory was correct. By the way, I strongly suggest you check out his blog. Heiko Braun helped on the first few chapters as far as reviewing goes. I’d also like to thank the contributors to the RESTEasy project, specifically Ron Sigal, Wei Nan Li, Solomon Duskis, Justin Edelson, Ryan McDonough, Attila Kiraly, and Michael Brackx. Without them, RESTEasy wouldn’t be where it is. Finally, I’d like to thank Meghan Blanchette and the O’Reilly team for helping make this book a reality.