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Building a simple REST service using NetBeans IDE 7, a Java Servlet, and JAXB

There are plenty of good Java based REST frameworks out there to build applications with. Restlet, RESTEasy, Jersey, etc. come to mind just to name a few. You don’t need a REST framework to build a simple REST service (although using a REST framework is definitely a great idea and my personal preference as well). Just for fun and learning though today I’ll show you how to build a simple REST service that returns some XML. I’ll just use a simple Java servlet and JAXB.

Note: I’m using NetBeans IDE 7 to build this project.

I created a new Maven Web Application called: RESTfullySimple

Once the project has been created add a new Java class called: User

Here is the code for the User.java file:

package com.giantflyingsaucer;
import javax.xml.bind.annotation.XmlType;
public class User {
    private String firstname;
    private String lastname;
    private int age;
    public int getAge() {
        return age;
    public void setAge(int age) {
        this.age = age;
    public String getFirstname() {
        return firstname;
    public void setFirstname(String firstname) {
        this.firstname = firstname;
    public String getLastname() {
        return lastname;
    public void setLastname(String lastname) {
        this.lastname = lastname;

Add another class to the project called: UserList

This class will create some new users via the constructor and store them in a list. Here is the code:

package com.giantflyingsaucer;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;
import javax.xml.bind.annotation.XmlRootElement;
public class UserList {
    private List<User> users;
    public List<User> getUsers() {
        return users;
    public void setUsers(List<User> users) {
        this.users = users;
    public UserList() {
        User user1 = new User();
        User user2 = new User();
        User user3 = new User();
        this.users = new ArrayList<User>();

In each class you will notice I used a couple annotations to help JAXB out: XmlType and XmlRootElement

Add a servlet to the project called: RESTfullySimpleServlet

Below is the code for the new servlet (since I’m using Servlet 3 there is no need to create a web.xml file for this project and you can delete any default jsp files that Maven created).

Note: See my previous article on Servlet 3 annotations if you are not familiar with them.

package com.giantflyingsaucer;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;
import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.ServletOutputStream;
import javax.servlet.annotation.WebServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import javax.xml.bind.JAXBContext;
import javax.xml.bind.JAXBException;
import javax.xml.bind.Marshaller;
import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilder;
import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory;
import javax.xml.parsers.ParserConfigurationException;
import javax.xml.transform.Source;
import javax.xml.transform.Transformer;
import javax.xml.transform.TransformerFactory;
import javax.xml.transform.dom.DOMSource;
import javax.xml.transform.stream.StreamResult;
import org.w3c.dom.Document;
@WebServlet(name = "RESTfullySimpleServlet", urlPatterns = {"/Users"})
public class RESTfullySimpleServlet extends HttpServlet {
    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        try {
                    GetXML(new UserList()), new StreamResult(response.getOutputStream()));
        catch(Exception ex) {
            throw new ServletException(ex);
    private Source GetXML(UserList userList) throws ServletException {
        Document document = null;
        try {
            Marshaller marshaller = JAXBContext.newInstance(UserList.class).createMarshaller();
            document = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance().newDocumentBuilder().newDocument();
            marshaller.marshal(userList, document);
        catch(JAXBException jaxbex) {
            throw new ServletException(jaxbex);
        catch(ParserConfigurationException parseex) {
            throw new ServletException(parseex);
        return new DOMSource(document);
    public String getServletInfo() {
        return "RESTfully Simply Servlet";

Here is the project structure:

In NetBeans IDE, issue the Maven Build and Clean command for the project and then deploy the resulting WAR file. I deployed mine to Tomcat 7.

The path for my REST service is: http://localhost:8080/RESTfullySimple-1.0-SNAPSHOT/Users

Note: Your path may differ depending how you set it up and deployed it.


From http://www.giantflyingsaucer.com/blog/?p=3339

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