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From "Liu, Jervis" <>
Subject RESTful demo for review
Date Wed, 20 Sep 2006 10:23:28 GMT
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
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
returns 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
with data:
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 URL.openStream().
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 below:
        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
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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