RESTful web service with Java EE (JAX-RS) and JSON: Hello World tutorial

You can find the java code here:

For this example we use Netbeans 8.1 (with the new and nice darkula theme :)) that comes with Glassfish Server out-of-the-box.

The goal is to create and show the structure of a basic REST service in Java.

In the tutorial:

  1. basic REST application with Java EE (no Spring)
  2. response to a get with : text, list on JSON objects
  3. simple integration test using Client

File structure

For this example we create 4 java classes (2 for the code, 1 for the unit test, 1 for the integration test).

code directory structure


In we tell to the server that there is a REST service and his address (endpoint).

 * This class is used to tell to the server that there are REST services. 
 * An alternative is to declare a servlet in the web.xml. 
 * @author marco 
@ApplicationPath("rest") // the 'rest' adress is mapped to the REST services 
public class RestConfig extends Application{ // a must be extended 

We can configure the service with an annotation like in our example or declare a Servlet in web.xml. In this example we don’t even create web.xml.

We leave the code of the class empty because we implement the methods in a second class:

Service class

Simple text answer

// @Provider tell the server that this is a REST class 
// @Path defines the path for this class: [server]/rest/examples 
public class RestHelloWorld { 

In this class we declare one method that return a simple text:

// path used to call the method: [server]/rest/examples/examples/helloWorld 
// answer only to a http get request 
// return a simple string (text/plain by default) 
public String hello(){   
  return "Hello World"; // string to be returned 

@Path : is the url to be used to call the service. It is added to the server URL + @ApplicationPath + @Path of the class. The name of the method is not important.

@GET : reads the calls with the http get method (ex. url written directly in the address bar of the browser)

This method return a simple text (no HTML) that is shown in the browser:

Java List to JSON Array answer

The second method is more interesting because it return a list of String in JSON format


public List<String> helloJSONList() { 
    List<String> jsonList = new ArrayList<String>(); 
    jsonList.add("Hello World"); 
    jsonList.add("Bonjour monde"); 
    return jsonList; 

@Produces: defines in which format the answer should be returned. It automatically transform our object (List of strings) in JSON format.


Netbeans recognize the services declared in this class and show them in the project structure:

project structure

To transform Java Objects in JSON and vice versa we need to import some converters in our project to avoid some MessageBodyWriter or MessageBodyReader media type error:

<!-- JSON support -->  
<!-- List to JSON -->  
<!-- JSON to List - MessageBodyReader media type -->  

Integration Test

We can test our services directly using an explorer or, better, with some integration tests.

The class is used to test the REST service if it is up and running.

In the following code the test try to read the JSON list from the server converting it in a java String:

public void testIntegrationHelloJSON(){  
  // the client connect to the REST service  
  Client client = ClientBuilder.newClient();  
  List<String> helloWorldString ="helloJSON") // connection to the pre-defined URL  
    .get(ArrayList.class); // we call the 'get' method and we transform the answer in a String  
  assertEquals(2, helloWorldString.size());  

Because of the name convention Maven recognize that this is an integration test and it doesn’t execute it with the unit tests.

You need the failsafe plugin to profit from this feature:


WebApp built by Marco using SpringBoot, Java 17, Mustache, Markdown and in Azure