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Apache CXF 3.0: JAX-RS 2.0 and Bean Validation 1.1 finally together

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Apache CXF 3.0: JAX-RS 2.0 and Bean Validation 1.1 finally together

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The upcoming release 3.0 (currently in milestone 2 phase) of the great Apache CXF framework is bringing a lot of interesting and useful features, getting closer to deliver full-fledged JAX-RS 2.0 support. One of those features, a long-awaited by many of us, is the support of Bean Validation 1.1: easy and concise model to add validation capabilities to your REST services layer.

In this blog post we are going to look how to configure Bean Validation 1.1 in your Apache CXF projects and discuss some interesting use cases. To keep this post reasonably short and focused, we will not discuss theBean Validation 1.1 itself but concentrate more on integration with JAX-RS 2.0 resources (some of the bean validation basics we have already covered in the older posts).

At the moment, Hibernate Validator is the de-facto reference implementation of Bean Validation 1.1specification, with the latest version being 5.1.0.Final and as such it will be the validation provider of our choice (Apache BVal project at the moment supports only Bean Validation 1.0). It is worth to mention thatApache CXF is agnostic to implementation and will work equally well either with Hibernate Validator or Apache BVal once released.

We are going to build a very simple application to manage people. Our model consists of one single class named Person.

package com.example.model;

import javax.validation.constraints.NotNull;

import org.hibernate.validator.constraints.Email;

public class Person {
    @NotNull @Email private String email;
    @NotNull private String firstName;
    @NotNull private String lastName;
    public Person() {

    public Person( final String email ) {
        this.email = email;

    public String getEmail() {
        return email;

    public void setEmail( final String email ) {
        this.email = email;
    public String getFirstName() {
        return firstName;

    public String getLastName() {
        return lastName;

    public void setFirstName( final String firstName ) {
        this.firstName = firstName;
    public void setLastName( final String lastName ) {
        this.lastName = lastName;

From snippet above we can see that Person class imposes couple of restrictions on its properties: all of them should not be null. Additionally, email property should contain a valid e-mail address (which will be validated by Hibernate Validator-specific constraint @Email). Pretty simple.

Now, let us take a look on JAX-RS 2.0 resources with validation constraints. The skeleton of thePeopleRestService class is bind to /people URL path and is shown below.

package com.example.rs;

import java.util.Collection;

import javax.inject.Inject;
import javax.validation.Valid;
import javax.validation.constraints.Min;
import javax.validation.constraints.NotNull;
import javax.ws.rs.DELETE;
import javax.ws.rs.DefaultValue;
import javax.ws.rs.FormParam;
import javax.ws.rs.GET;
import javax.ws.rs.POST;
import javax.ws.rs.Path;
import javax.ws.rs.PathParam;
import javax.ws.rs.Produces;
import javax.ws.rs.QueryParam;
import javax.ws.rs.core.Context;
import javax.ws.rs.core.MediaType;
import javax.ws.rs.core.Response;
import javax.ws.rs.core.UriInfo;

import org.hibernate.validator.constraints.Length;

import com.example.model.Person;
import com.example.services.PeopleService;

@Path( "/people" ) 
public class PeopleRestService {
    @Inject private PeopleService peopleService;

    // REST methods here

It should look very familiar, nothing new. The first method we are going to add and decorate with validation constraints is getPerson, which will look up a person by its e-mail address.

@Produces( { MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON } )
@Path( "/{email}" )
public @Valid Person getPerson( 
        @Length( min = 5, max = 255 ) @PathParam( "email" ) final String email ) {
    return peopleService.getByEmail( email );

There are a couple of differences from traditional JAX-RS 2.0 method declaration. Firstly, we would like the e-mail address (email path parameter) to be at least 5 characters long (but no more than 255 characters) which is imposed by @Length( min = 5, max = 255 ) annotation. Secondly, we would like to ensure that only valid person is returned by this method so we annotated the method's return value with @Validannotation. The effect of @Valid is very interesting: the person's instance in question will be checked against all validation constraints declared by its class (Person).

At the moment, Bean Validation 1.1 is not active by default in your Apache CXF projects so if you run your application and call this REST endpoint, all validation constraints will be simply ignored. The good news are that it is very easy to activate Bean Validation 1.1 as it requires only three components to be added to your usual configuration (please check out this feature documentation for more details and advanced configuration):

  • JAXRSBeanValidationInInterceptor in-inteceptor: performs validation of the input parameters ofJAX-RS 2.0 resource methods
  • JAXRSBeanValidationOutInterceptor out-inteceptor: performs validation of return values of JAX-RS 2.0 resource methods
  • ValidationExceptionMapper exception mapper: maps the validation violations to HTTP status codes. As per specification, all input parameters validation violations result into 400 Bad Request error. Respectively, all return values validation violations result into 500 Internal Server Error error. At the moment, the ValidationExceptionMapper does not include additional information into response (as it may violate application protocol) but it could be easily extended to provide more details about validation errors.

The AppConfig class shows off one of the ways to wire up all the required components together usingRuntimeDelegate and JAXRSServerFactoryBean (the XML-based configuration is also supported).

package com.example.config;

import java.util.Arrays;

import javax.ws.rs.ext.RuntimeDelegate;

import org.apache.cxf.bus.spring.SpringBus;
import org.apache.cxf.endpoint.Server;
import org.apache.cxf.interceptor.Interceptor;
import org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.JAXRSServerFactoryBean;
import org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.JAXRSBeanValidationInInterceptor;
import org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.JAXRSBeanValidationOutInterceptor;
import org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.ValidationExceptionMapper;
import org.apache.cxf.message.Message;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.DependsOn;

import com.example.rs.JaxRsApiApplication;
import com.example.rs.PeopleRestService;
import com.example.services.PeopleService;
import com.fasterxml.jackson.jaxrs.json.JacksonJsonProvider;

public class AppConfig {    
    @Bean( destroyMethod = "shutdown" )
    public SpringBus cxf() {
        return new SpringBus();

    @Bean @DependsOn( "cxf" )
    public Server jaxRsServer() {
        final JAXRSServerFactoryBean factory = 
        factory.setServiceBeans( Arrays.< Object >asList( peopleRestService() ) );
        factory.setAddress( factory.getAddress() );
            Arrays.< Interceptor< ? extends Message > >asList( 
                new JAXRSBeanValidationInInterceptor()
            Arrays.< Interceptor< ? extends Message > >asList( 
                new JAXRSBeanValidationOutInterceptor() 
                new ValidationExceptionMapper(), 
                new JacksonJsonProvider() 

        return factory.create();
    public JaxRsApiApplication jaxRsApiApplication() {
        return new JaxRsApiApplication();
    public PeopleRestService peopleRestService() {
        return new PeopleRestService();

    public PeopleService peopleService() {
        return new PeopleService();

All in/out interceptors and exception mapper are injected. Great, let us build the project and run the server to validate the Bean Validation 1.1 is active and works as expected.

mvn clean package
java -jar target/jaxrs-2.0-validation-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar 

Now, if we issue a REST request with short (or invalid) e-mail address a@b, the server should return 400 Bad Request. Let us validate that.

> curl http://localhost:8080/rest/api/people/a@b -i

HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:11:59 GMT
Content-Length: 0
Server: Jetty(9.1.z-SNAPSHOT)

Excellent! To be completely sure, we can check server console output and find there the validation exception of type ConstraintViolationException and its stacktrace. Plus, the last line provides the details what went wrong: PeopleRestService.getPerson.arg0: length must be between 5 and 255 (please notice, because argument names are not currently available on JVM after compilation, they are replaced by placeholders likearg0arg1, ...).

WARNING: Interceptor for {http://rs.example.com/}PeopleRestService has thrown exception, unwinding now
        at org.apache.cxf.validation.BeanValidationProvider.validateParameters(BeanValidationProvider.java:119)
        at org.apache.cxf.validation.BeanValidationInInterceptor.handleValidation(BeanValidationInInterceptor.java:59)
        at org.apache.cxf.validation.AbstractValidationInterceptor.handleMessage(AbstractValidationInterceptor.java:73)
        at org.apache.cxf.phase.PhaseInterceptorChain.doIntercept(PhaseInterceptorChain.java:307)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.ChainInitiationObserver.onMessage(ChainInitiationObserver.java:121)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.http.AbstractHTTPDestination.invoke(AbstractHTTPDestination.java:240)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.servlet.ServletController.invokeDestination(ServletController.java:223)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.servlet.ServletController.invoke(ServletController.java:197)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.servlet.ServletController.invoke(ServletController.java:149)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.servlet.CXFNonSpringServlet.invoke(CXFNonSpringServlet.java:167)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.servlet.AbstractHTTPServlet.handleRequest(AbstractHTTPServlet.java:286)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.servlet.AbstractHTTPServlet.doGet(AbstractHTTPServlet.java:211)
        at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:687)
        at org.apache.cxf.transport.servlet.AbstractHTTPServlet.service(AbstractHTTPServlet.java:262)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.servlet.ServletHolder.handle(ServletHolder.java:711)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.servlet.ServletHandler.doHandle(ServletHandler.java:552)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.server.handler.ContextHandler.doHandle(ContextHandler.java:1112)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.servlet.ServletHandler.doScope(ServletHandler.java:479)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.server.handler.ContextHandler.doScope(ContextHandler.java:1046)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.server.handler.ScopedHandler.handle(ScopedHandler.java:141)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.server.handler.HandlerWrapper.handle(HandlerWrapper.java:97)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.server.Server.handle(Server.java:462)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.server.HttpChannel.handle(HttpChannel.java:281)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.server.HttpConnection.onFillable(HttpConnection.java:232)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.io.AbstractConnection$1.run(AbstractConnection.java:505)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.util.thread.QueuedThreadPool.runJob(QueuedThreadPool.java:607)
        at org.eclipse.jetty.util.thread.QueuedThreadPool$3.run(QueuedThreadPool.java:536)
        at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)

Mar 25, 2014 8:11:59 PM org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.ValidationExceptionMapper toResponse
WARNING: PeopleRestService.getPerson.arg0: length must be between 5 and 255

Moving on, we are going to add two more REST methods to demonstrate the collections and Responsevalidation in action.

@Produces( { MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON } )
public @Valid Collection< Person > getPeople( 
        @Min( 1 ) @QueryParam( "count" ) @DefaultValue( "1" ) final int count ) {
    return peopleService.getPeople( count );

The @Valid annotation on collection of objects will ensure that every single object in collection is valid. Thecount parameter is also constrained to have the minimum value 1 by @Min( 1 ) annotation (the@DefaultValue is taken into account if the query parameter is not specified). Let us on purpose add the person without first and last names set so the resulting collection will contain at least one person instance which should not pass the validation process.

> curl http://localhost:8080/rest/api/people -X POST -id "email=a@b3.com"

With that, the call of getPeople REST method should return 500 Internal Server Error. Let us check that is the case.

> curl -i http://localhost:8080/rest/api/people?count=10

HTTP/1.1 500 Server Error
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 01:28:58 GMT
Content-Length: 0
Server: Jetty(9.1.z-SNAPSHOT)

Looking into server console output, the hint what is wrong is right there.

Mar 25, 2014 9:28:58 PM org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.ValidationExceptionMapper toResponse
WARNING: PeopleRestService.getPeople.[0].firstName: may not be null
Mar 25, 2014 9:28:58 PM org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.ValidationExceptionMapper toResponse
WARNING: PeopleRestService.getPeople.[0].lastName: may not be null

And finally, yet another example, this time with generic Response object.

@Produces( { MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON  } )
public Response addPerson( @Context final UriInfo uriInfo,
        @NotNull @Length( min = 5, max = 255 ) @FormParam( "email" ) final String email, 
        @FormParam( "firstName" ) final String firstName, 
        @FormParam( "lastName" ) final String lastName ) {        
    final Person person = peopleService.addPerson( email, firstName, lastName );
    return Response.created( uriInfo.getRequestUriBuilder().path( email ).build() )
        .entity( person ).build();

The last example is a bit tricky: the Response class is part of JAX-RS 2.0 API and has no validation constraints defined. As such, imposing any validation rules on the instance of this class will not trigger any violations. But Apache CXF tries its best and performs a simple but useful trick: instead of Responseinstance, the response's entity will be validated instead. We can easy verify that by trying to create a person without first and last names set: the expected result should be 500 Internal Server Error.

> curl http://localhost:8080/rest/api/people -X POST -id "email=a@b3.com"

HTTP/1.1 500 Server Error
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 01:13:06 GMT
Content-Length: 0
Server: Jetty(9.1.z-SNAPSHOT)

And server console output is more verbose:

Mar 25, 2014 9:13:06 PM org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.ValidationExceptionMapper toResponse
WARNING: PeopleRestService.addPerson.<return value>.firstName: may not be null
Mar 25, 2014 9:13:06 PM org.apache.cxf.jaxrs.validation.ValidationExceptionMapper toResponse
WARNING: PeopleRestService.addPerson.<return value>.lastName: may not be null

Nice! In this blog post we have just touched a bit the a topic of how Bean Validation 1.1 may make yourApache CXF projects better by providing such a rich and extensible declarative validation support. Definitely give it a try!

A complete project is available on GitHub.

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