OSGi JAX-RS connector: Publishing REST services

OSGi JAX-RS connector: Publishing REST services

In a recent blog post Peter Kriens commented that the OSGi service model is as important as object-orientation. I feel the same – I don’t want to write software without this concept anymore. But for me, the service model only makes sense when it’s used together with the modularity OSGi provides. I think the modularisation layer is the greatest advantage of the OSGi platform and the services are really only there to simplify the communication between modules.

When it comes to developing a REST API with Java, this advantage is missing in most of today’s libraries (e.g. Restlet or Jersey), because the Java language still lacks modularity. But especially for the design of a REST API this concept can be a great benefit, because it overcomes the limitation of only being able to separate REST services by url and Java packages. With modularity the service implementations can be separated into modules which improves the maintainability and the beauty of the whole system a lot.

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A few months ago I discovered JAX-RS for developing REST services. (Before that I used Restlet.) I have to say that the JAX-RS API makes it really easy to develop REST services. See this article for a how-to. A reference implementation of this API is Jersey. The cool thing about this implementation is that it plays really well together with the OSGi HttpService and it ships as bundles. In this way we have the option to actively deploy REST services into the HttpService. But is this how we want to publish REST services? To me, it’s not!

In my ideal world I would write my @Path annotated Pojos and publish them as OSGi services. That’s it. The runtime should take care of publishing and service wiring. Sadly, Jersey has no built-in feature for that. This is the reason I wrote a little OSGi-JAX-RS connector. The only thing the connector does is that it publishes OSGi services as REST services using JAX-RS. Of course, there are OSGi remote services, but using them does not allow the use of JAX-RS the way I’d prefer, namely as a lightweight additional bundle.

You can find the connector in GitHub. To make it work simply install it into your OSGi instance by using this jar. (You’ll also find a p2 repository there). That’s it. The only thing you have to take care of is writing the REST services like the one in this example.

@Path( "/osgi-jax-rs" )
public class ExampleService {
  @GET
  public String seyHello() {
    return "JAX-RS and OSGi are a lovely couple.";
  }
}

The activator can then look like this:

public class Activator implements BundleActivator {
  private ServiceRegistration<?> registration;
  @Override
  public void start( BundleContext context ) throws Exception {
    ExampleService exampleService = new ExampleService();
    registration = context.registerService( ExampleService.class.getName(), exampleService, null );
  }
  @Override
  public void stop( BundleContext context ) throws Exception {
    registration.unregister();
  }
}

Further instructions can be found in the README of the git repository. It also contains two examples for using this connector with and without declarative services. In the second part of this blog series I will show you how to configure the services using the OSGi Configuration Admin Service and publish services on different ports within the same OSGi instance. I hope you enjoy this connector as much as I do.