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Better Exception Handling in RESTful Java

· Web Dev Zone

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"Less time on exception handling at development, hard time on debugging in production"

Whenever we start learning a new programming language or concepts, it is better to understand how to handle the extreme cases or exceptions.

In this article, we are going to see how we can handle exceptions when we write RESTful web services using Java language. There are 3 main parts involved in the process.

    Exception wrapper
    Exception mapper
    Response marshaller
We will see each one of them in details...

Exception wrapper:

First we have to write a exception wrapper of our business exception. Something like an extended implementation of Java exception. This is an exception which we will throw from our business logic.

 public class CustomException extends Exception implements Serializable {

  private static final long serialVersionUID = -2018114370574835493L;
  public CustomException() {

  public CustomException(String message) {

  public CustomException(String message, Exception ex) {
    super(message, ex);

Exception mapper:

Next we have to write a provider class for the above mentioned custom exception. This one is called as exception mapper. It will generate the desired response from our custom exception object at run-time.

public class CustomExceptionMapper implements ExceptionMapper<CustomException> {

 public Response toResponse(CustomException ex) {
  CustomResponse CustomResponse = new CustomResponse(Response.Status.EXPECTATION_FAILED.getStatusCode());

  StringWriter writer = new StringWriter();
  ex.printStackTrace(new PrintWriter(writer));

  return Response.status(Response.Status.OK.getStatusCode())

Response marshaller:

Marshaling is the process of creating JSON / XML data from the given object. In our case we are going to create JSON response from the given Custom Response object. Custom Response object is the holder for the response which will be transferred as a JSON data. Marshalling Java to JSON is covered in details. Please refer if you need more information.

public class CustomResponseMarshaller implements MessageBodyWriter<CustomResponse> {

 public long getSize(CustomResponse CustomResponse, Class<?> clazz,
   Type type, Annotation[] annotations, MediaType mediaType) {
  return -1;

 public boolean isWriteable(Class<?> clazz, Type type, Annotation[] annotations, MediaType mediaType) {
  return clazz == CustomResponse.class;

 public void writeTo(CustomResponse CustomResponse, Class<?> clazz,
   Type type, Annotation[] annotations, MediaType mediaType,
   MultivaluedMap<String, Object> valueMap, OutputStream stream) throws IOException, WebApplicationException {

  JsonObjectBuilder jsonObjectBuilder = Json.createObjectBuilder();
  jsonObjectBuilder.add("status", CustomResponse.getStatus());

  jsonObjectBuilder.add("data", (CustomResponse.getData() != null) ? CustomResponse.getData() : "");
  jsonObjectBuilder.add("message", (CustomResponse.getMessage() != null) ? CustomResponse.getMessage() : "");
  jsonObjectBuilder.add("detail", (CustomResponse.getDetail() != null) ? CustomResponse.getDetail() : "");

  DataOutputStream outputStream = new DataOutputStream(stream);

Finally we can throw our custom exception from the resource method like the below. The Custom exception will be handled based on the provider (mapper) available above in the code.

public class CustomRequestResource {

 public Response request(@FormParam("name") String name,
   @FormParam("email") String email,
   @FormParam("message") String message) throws CustomException {

  if (name == null || email == null || message == null) {
      throw new CustomException("Please fill name, email and message");

  return Response.status(CustomResponse.getStatus())

I hope you have enjoyed with this article. Share your comments and feedback if you have any...

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Published at DZone with permission of Thamizh Arasu, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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