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From "Sergey Beryozkin" <>
Subject Re: RESTful demo for review
Date Fri, 29 Sep 2006 17:17:36 GMT
Hi Jervis

  <Customer href="http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1234> <id>1234</id>
  <!-- more customers -->

Just a minor comment here. I think it would be more descriptiove if some info more meaningful
than an id (when available) can be 
returned to a client as part of collection queries, perhaps a name, or something similar.
With ids you dont get anything interesting 
out of the collection, nothing to look at for a (human) user. If we have :

  <Customer href="http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1234> <name>John</name>
  <!-- more customers -->

Not a lot of interesting info, but still a client can use a name in order to choose which
reference to follow, etc...
Perhaps for this to work two annotations should be made, one for identifying a field which
will be used as part of href, another one 
for identifying the ref value like 'John'.

Another thing is that it might be worth considering identifying reference-like elements as
being references :

<CustomerRef href="http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1234> <name>John</name>

It makes it easier to understand that a collection returns a bunch of references. The thing
is is that most likely there'll be a 
schema out there which says how a Customer instance may look like  and it may not permit Customer
instances not to contain all 
elements or to contain an href attribute. Perhaps the convention should be <BeanName>+"Ref"
for naming references. hosts a 
lot of interesting articles about it...

"There are some immediate improvements we can make to this demo:
1. Remove the presence of WSDL files from both server and client side: REST does not need
WSDL file."

I really would like yourself/us to think more about it. WSDL is often displayed now as something
that just blocks the evolution. It 
may or may not be the case. The power is not in the ability to invoke operations on the stubs
but on the xml data type system WSDL 
relies upon. With a proper design one might get both a perceived convinience of stubs and
the extensibility coming from xml schema 

I agree REST does not need WSDL and I also agree with both yourself and Dan that WSDL2 HTTP/XML
support will be good to have.

The main power of something like WSDL, as far as REST is concerned is about client-side tooling.
This is one of the key things IMHO 
for CXF to consider as far as its REST support is concerned. WSDL 2.0 is good but it;'s not
as good as WADL promises to be in terms 
of facilitating client-side usage of hyperlink references.

As I said I agree REST does not need WSDL. But the thing is that we'd probably like clinets
to use CXF too.

What is interesting about REST is that it's really about the client, the focus is on the client
so that it can be adaptable to 
changes. If it all can be facilitated by a good client-side tooling then it'd make it much
easier for people to start experimenting 
with REST using *CXF* on both sides :-)

Cheers, Sergey


Based on the REST discussion we had before in this mailing list, I have created an initial
version of RESTful demo ( <>
&rev=448148).  The intention is to show how 
to publish/consume RESTful services using the programming models offered by CXF, for the time
being, the primary focus is 
demonstrating the REST based webservices using XML binding and JAX-WS Provider/Dispatch. When
CXF grows, we can add more RESTful 
capabilities into CXF, for example, serving REST service using Spring POJO etc. Please note
the current effort is by no means to 
invent a "real" REST programming model.

The RESTful communication scenarios covered by this demo are as below:

A RESTful customer service is provided on URL http://localhost:9000/customerservice/customers,
users access this URI to query or 
update customer info.

A HTTP GET request to URL  <http://localhost:9000/customerservice/customers> http://localhost:9000/customerservice/customers
a list of customer hyperlinks, this allows client navigates through the application states.
The xml document returned:

  <Customer href="  <http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1234> http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1234">
  <Customer href="  <http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1235> http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1235">
  <Customer href="  <http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1236> http://localhost/customerservice/customer?id=1236">

A HTTP GET request to URL  <http://localhost:9000/customerservice/customers?id=1234>

http://localhost:9000/customerservice/customers?id=1234 returns a customer instance whose
id is 1234. The xml document returned:


A HTTP POST request to URL  <http://localhost:9000/customerservice/customers> http://localhost:9000/customerservice/customers


updates customer 1234 with the data provided.

The demo client side codes demonstrate how to sent HTTP POST with XML data using JAX-WS dispatch
and how to sent HTTP GET using 

There are some immediate improvements we can make to this demo:

1. Remove the presence of WSDL files from both server and client side: REST does not need
WSDL file. JAX-WS provider/dispatch does 
not need WSDL too. However our current implementation of provider/dispatch can not work without
wsdl, that's why you can see wsdl 
files in this RESTful demo. This needs to be fixed

2. Support sending HTTP GET using JAX-WS dispatch: A HTTP GET request can be sent by using
URL.openStream or by using JAX-WS 
dispatch. Though I do not see much benefit of using the latter, we do need to support it.
According to JAX-WS spec, this can be done 
by adding extra non-standard properties into request context. A code snippet may look like

        Service service = Service.createService();
        service.addPort(portQName, "  <>",

        Dispatch<Source> d = service.createDispatch(portQName, Source.class, Service.Mode.PAYLOAD);

        Map<String, Object> requestContext = d.getRequestContext();
        requestContext.put(Message.HTTP_REQUEST_METHOD, new String("GET"));
        requestContext.put(Message.QUERY_STRING, queryString);
        requestContext.put(Message.PATH_INFO, path);

        Source result = d.invoke(null);

Does this look alright to everybody?

Moving forward, I also want to see following things being discussed:

1. How to expose an existing Web Service as a RESTful service. Say, I have an existing Web
Service written in JAX-WS, it would be 
really great if CXF can help me to publish it as a RESTful service with minimal changes. In
this case, I see the need to support SEI 
on both server and client side. Several issues involved:

c. We will need a REST binding. This REST binding does have WSDL file. We can have a wsdltorest
tool to help generating the WSDL 
binding part for REST binding. Probably this is the only thing users need to do to port an
existing web service to REST.

a. How to map between REST resources and service operations. The easiest approach is using
fixed method names for the REST 
operations. I.e., given a base URI context like  <http://localhost/foo> http://localhost/foo
(this is the http:address in the wsdl 
file), a SEI method sayHi is mapped to URL  <http://localhost/foo/sayHi> http://localhost/foo/sayHi.
Based on our previous 
discussion, this does not conform to REST semantics very well. But one could argue that the
traditional applications are not REST 
anyway, we just make it serving services with more REST flavors.

b. We need a method dispatch and parameter marshal/unmarshall mechanism different from JAX-WS.
For HTTP POST, the data sent on the 
wire should be a raw xml , it is the URL who indicates the method being requested. The xml
data itself still needs to conform to xml 
schema in WSDL. For HTTP GET, we need encode/decode method name and parameters into URL.

Anyway, this story seems need a bit work to do. I see this as a valid requirement but I am
not very sure the above is the right way 
to approach. FYI, Axis2 does support publishing existing SOAP service as REST service, but
it is a pure hack to me. 

2. As Steve pointed out before, how to better support navigation of application state via
hyperlinks. "CXF has to enable and perhaps 
help the server-side application to generate the URLs required to identify new resources that
it creates and tie servants/ 
implementations to them. Applications have to play their part, too,  by following the semantics
of HTTP, such as ensuring that GETs 
are idempotent, and ensuring that the URLs it produces for its resources  and state aren't
just always temporary or transient."

3. Look into WSDL2's HTTP support to see what we can leverage from there.

Thoughts and comments?


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