10 June 2013

CFML REST webservices with Railo

I've been doing a lot of REST web services with CFML and Railo lately and wanted to write up my experiences in case it helps.

First you need to setup Railo with your webservice cfc:

Second you need to create and configure your cfc:
<cfcomponent rest="true" restpath="/hello">

The restpath provides the step in your URL from which your service is accessed. A normal REST webservice is pretty straightforward. Ensure your method is set to access="remote" and add in httpMethod and a restPath param to the cffunction.
<cffunction name="getmuppets" access="remote" httpmethod="GET" restpath="/getmuppets">

The restpath identifies the url structure you'll use to access the webservice.
The httpmethod tells the webservice if it should respond to GET/POST/PUT etc methods. These methods are defined and talked about more in REST definitions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representational_state_transfer#Vocabulary_re-use_vs._its_arbitrary_extension:_HTTP_and_SOAP

Returning data is fairly standard, but if you want to return JSON then you might want to look at my previous blog post.

I've found that unlike much of CFML REST is case sensitive, so its a good idea to make everything lowercase.

This should be enough to get you going, but pretty soon you'll need to add arguments. So lets have a quick look at REST arguments. Lets assume for now we're just interested in a GET request.

You add your cfargument as your normally would, but you also need a param called restArgSource.

<cfargument name="intage"    type="numeric"    restArgSource="Path">

Your new method would look like this:
    <cffunction name="getmuppets" access="remote" produces="application/json" httpmethod="GET" restpath="/getmuppets/intage/{intage}/strsex/{strsex}/">
        <cfargument name="intage"    type="numeric"    restArgSource="Path">
        <cfargument name="strsex"    type="string"    restArgSource="Path">

Pay particular attention to how the restpath needs to be updated to match the new arguments. We're using restArgSource set to path, which means your url needs to provide those arguments. Here's an example URL:
Each step in the URL is a piece of the puzzle.

There are a few types that restArgSource accepts:
  • Path
  • Query
  • Matrix
  • Cookie / Header
  •  Form
Query is pretty straightforward, instead of using path (as above) you can just get your arguments from the query scope, i.e. ?strage=30. Form is when an argument comes from the FORM scope and you'd normally only use this for post and put httpMethods.
For a full explanation of these types, this article provides a good explanation:

That's it, you should be ready to write your own. Best of luck!