Creating Reusable Jersey Extensions (Features)


When developing in Jersey, you may find yourself reusing some components for different projects, or you would like to share your components with the world to use. In either case, it is likely the components will need to be configured to suit the user’s needs. In this article I will show a pattern of how to create these reusable components and to package them up into easily usable and configurable features.

The pattern I will be describing is the pattern used by most of the features in Jersey. For example, you might find yourself doing this

property(SomeFeature.SOME_PROPERTY, false);
property(SomeFeature.ANOTHER_PROPERTY, true);

Here we are registering the SomeFeature and setting configuration properties on that feature. This is the usability pattern we will follow in the example I describe in this article.

The example we will use is an API key feature that allows clients to obtain a API key to use your APIs. Do note that the implementation should probably not be used in the real world. I put more thought into creating the framework components and making them fit, than into any security good practices.

So these are the requirements we will try to meet.

  • When a client tries to access an endpoint, if a API key header is not set with a valid key, the client will get sent an Unauthorized response.
  • The client can obtain a key from an endpoint created by the feature.

For the first of the bullet points we will use a ContainerRequestFilter. For the second point, we will create an endpoint class just like any other resource class you create in Jersey.


  • The user should be able to configure how the key is generated.
  • The user should be to configure their own data access.
  • The user should be able to configure the API key endpoint URI.
  • The user should be able to configure the header name the key should come in.
  • The user should be able to add test data to a default (in-memory) data store.

All the code examples can be found in the GitHub project. The code discussed here will be from the jersey-extension-framework child project, and the client of the feature project can be found in the jersey-extension-client child project

The first component we will introduce is the ClientStore.

public interface ClientStore {
    void saveClient(ClientDetails clientDetails);
    ClientDetails getClientById(String clientId);
    ClientDetails getClientByApiKey(String apiKey);

These methods will allow the feature to lookup clients from the data store, and to save clients. There is a default implementation (DefaulClientStore) provided that will just save to a ConcurrentHashMap. The user of the feature can use this default just to test, but will want to provide their own implementation that will actual store the data to a persistent store.

The ClientDetails is a simple domain model that has three properties.

public class ClientDetails {
    private String clientId;
    private String clientPassHash;
    private String apiKey;
    // getters and setters

The next component is the ApiKeyFilter, which is a ContainerRequestFilter. This will filter out the requests to check for API keys

final class ApiKeyFilter implements ContainerRequestFilter {
    private final String authEndpoint;
    private final String apiKeyHeader;
    private ClientStore clientStore;
    public ApiKeyFilter(String authEndpoint, String apiKeyHeader) {
        this.authEndpoint = authEndpoint;
        this.apiKeyHeader = apiKeyHeader;

    public void filter(ContainerRequestContext requestContext) throws IOException {
        String requestUri = requestContext.getUriInfo().getRequestUri().toString();
        if (requestUri.endsWith(authEndpoint)) {
        String keyValue = requestContext.getHeaderString(apiKeyHeader);
        if (keyValue == null) {
            throw new WebApplicationException(Response.Status.UNAUTHORIZED);
        ClientDetails client = clientStore.getClientByApiKey(keyValue);
        if (client == null) {
            throw new WebApplicationException(Response.Status.UNAUTHORIZED);

As stated earlier, the API key endpoint is configurable, and so it the API key header. So we provide those in a dependencies through the constructor. In th filter method we check three things

  1. If the request is to the API key endpoint, we let it through.
  2. If the API key is missing, the client will get an Unauthorized response.
  3. If the client can’t be found through the API key, they will also get an Unauthorized response.

The next component we will create the ApiKeyEndpoint. This is the endpoint requested to get a key.

public class ApiKeyEndpoint {
    private KeyGenerator keyGenerator;
    private ClientStore clientStore;

    private Response getApiKey(ClientPostInfo clientInfo) {
        ClientDetails client = clientStore.getClientById(clientInfo.clientId);
        if (client == null) {
            throw new WebApplicationException(Response.Status.UNAUTHORIZED);
        String hash = noOpHash(clientInfo.clientPass);
        if (!client.getClientPassHash().equals(hash)) {
            throw new WebApplicationException(Response.Status.UNAUTHORIZED);
        String apiKey = keyGenerator.generateKey(client.getClientId());
        return Response.ok(new ApiKey(apiKey)).build();

I took out some code for brevity, but you can find the complete code in the project. The main functionality of the endpoint is enclosed in the getApiKey method. There are actually two resource methods, one to handle application/json POST data, and one to handle application/x-www-form-urlencoded POST data. They both make the same call to the getApiKey method, so I just left them out.

In the getApiKey method we look up the ClientDetails from the ClientStore. If the client is not in the store, they get an Unauthorized response. In this example we will assume the client it put into the store in some out of band way, so the feature will be so concerned with being able to add clients to the store.

If the client is found, then they will be issued an API key, in JSON form. For example

{"apiKey" : " dj8e2-d2idj-wed32-32jdw"}

The other thing to note about this class is the KeyGenerator. This is another interface the user can implements and configure.

public interface KeyGenerator {
    String generateKey(String clientId);

There is a default one (UUIDKeyGenerator) that does nothing more than return a random UUID.

These are all the main components involved in the actual functionality of the feature. I tried to keep it sweet and simple. To use the feature the user should be able to do the following

property(ApiKeyFeature.API_KEY_HEADER, "X-API-TOKEN");
property(ApiKeyFeature.API_KEY_URI, "apikey");
property(ApiKeyFeature.CLIENT_STORE_CLASS, JpaClientStore.class);
property(ApiKeyFeature.KEY_GEN_CLASS, SomeKeyGenerator.class);


In this example the user is opting to change the default properties by supplying their own. Hopefully you can figure the use of the first two. The latter two are the two components implemented by the user, and provided to the feature, which overrides the default components. Then the user registers the ApiKeyFeature which we will described shortly. The thing to note is that we will have defaults for all these properties.

Also if the user wanted to test out the feature just using the DefaultClientStore, then they would not have to configure the ApiKeyFeature.CLIENT_STORE_CLASS property. Instead they should use ApiKeyFeature.INIT_CLIENT_DATA to supply a List<ClientDetails> as the property value. This will be the initial data to put into the store.

Now here is where the main configuration component comes in, the ApiKeyFeature. It is a lot of code to put into on code block, so I will go through it piece by piece. So to follow along, you should open up the file.

The first to check out are the couple of helper methods at the bottom of the class.

public static <T> T getValue(Map<String, ?> properties, String key, Class<T> type) {
    return PropertiesHelper.getValue(properties, key, type, null);

public static <T> T getValue(Map<String, ?> properties, String key, T defaultValue) {
    return PropertiesHelper.getValue(properties, key, defaultValue, null);

I just copied these from a different feature in the Jersey project. They just help in obtaining property values from the property map. For example at the beginning of the configure method, you will see

public boolean configure(FeatureContext context) {
    Map<String, Object> properties = context.getConfiguration().getProperties();

    final String apiKeyHeader = getValue(properties, API_KEY_HEADER, DEFAULT_KEY_HEADER);
    final String apiKeyPath = getValue(properties, API_KEY_URI, DEFAULT_URI);

    context.register(new ApiKeyFilter(apiKeyPath, apiKeyHeader));

When a user set a property in the ResourceConfig by calling property(prop, value);, The property gets set the Configuration properties, that we obtains from the FeatureContext. Then we look then up with our helper methods, supplying default values. So if the API_KEY_HEADER is not set, then use the DEFAULT_KEY_HEADER. Same goes for the API_KEY_URI. After we obtain these two properties, then we can construct the ApiKeyFilter, and then register the filter with the application.

Next we are going to programmatically create the ApiKeyEnpoint resource. This is required because the URI is configurable. When the user provides a different URI from the default, we need to reconstruct the resource model. To do this we will use a combination of a Resource.Builder and a ModelProcess. Details about using these components is outside the scope of this article. To get more information on programmatically creating resources, I suggest you check out Programmatic API for Building Resources

final Resource apiKeyResource
           = Resource.builder(ApiKeyEndpoint.class).path(apiKeyPath).build();
context.register(new ApiKeyModelProcessor(apiKeyResource));
private static class ApiKeyModelProcessor implements ModelProcessor {

    private final Resource apiKeyResource;

    public ApiKeyModelProcessor(Resource apiKeyResource) {
        this.apiKeyResource = apiKeyResource;

    public ResourceModel processResourceModel(ResourceModel resourceModel,
            Configuration config) {
        ResourceModel.Builder builder
                = new ResourceModel.Builder(resourceModel.getResources(), false);

The last part of the Feature configuration is to handle the KeyGenerator and the ClientStore.

Class<? extends KeyGenerator> generatorCls = getValue(properties, KEY_GEN_CLASS, Class.class);
generatorCls = generatorCls == null ? UUIDKeyGenerator.class : generatorCls;

Class<? extends ClientStore> clientStoreCls = getValue(properties, CLIENT_STORE_CLASS, Class.class);
// Using DefaultClientStore. 
if (clientStoreCls == null) {
    DefaultClientStore defaultClientStore = new DefaultClientStore();
    List<ClientDetails> db = getValue(properties, INIT_CLIENT_DATA, List.class);
    if (db == null) {
        throw new RuntimeException("Either set ClientStore or init List");
    for (ClientDetails c : db) {
    context.register(new ApiKeyBinder(defaultClientStore, generatorCls));
} else {
    context.register(new ApiKeyBinder(clientStoreCls, generatorCls));

The first couple of lines set the KeyGenerator class. If the property is not set, getValue will return null. In that case we use the default UUIDKeyGenerator.

For the ClientStore it will be a bit different. If the user doesn’t set their own ClientStore implementation, then they can set the List<ClientDetails> to initialize the DefaultClientStore with come data. In which case we will use an instance of the DefaultDataStore instead of the class. This is necessary to initialize the data.

Once we have the KeyGenerator class and the ClientStore class or DefaultClientStore instance, we will register then with an AbstractBinder, which is used by Jersey’s dependency injection framework HK2 to register the services. These services are injected into both the ApiKeyFilter and the ApiKeyEndpoint. To learn more about HK2 and using it with Jersey, see Custom Injection and Lifecycle Management

And that’s it for the feature. You can see the test cases in the project. There are two sets of tests. Both of which extend from BaseApiKeyFeatureTest. One of the test sets use all defaults, while the other uses all configured properties.

You can also see the jersey-extension-client project to see a real client of the feature in action. It implements the ClientStore using JPA. Instructions to run the client project are its README.

Hope you enjoyed this article and hope you start building and sharing your new features!

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