Rest Dispatch

REST Dispatch is a GWT client library introduced in GWTP 1.0. It allows your client code to send HTTP requests in a REST fashion to any server. It aims to support JSR-311 (or JAX-RS) annotations.

Only JSON serialization is supported!


Many example snippets are taken from the Car Store, a sample project used for integration tests within GWTP.

The serialization depends on the gwt-jackson project. Whenever you create a pojo, you can use the Jackson 2 annotations to configure the serialization process!


Setting up your application to use REST Dispatch requires a few steps:

1. Add REST Dispatch to your maven configuration

To access the REST Dispatch classes, you need to add the following dependency to your pom file.


Add REST Dispatch to your GWT module

You need to add an inherits clause to your project's gwt.xml file

<inherits name=""/>

Very Important
* If you use MvpWithFormFactor or MvpWithEntryPoint, the previous line needs to be before the MvpWith* inherits tag. ie:

<inherits name=""/>
<inherits name="com.gwtplatform.mvp.MvpWithEntryPoint" />
  • If you are using a generated GINjector and have something similar to
<set-configuration-property name="gin.ginjector.modules"

You need to change set-configuration-property to extend-configuration-property

Installing with your own Ginjector

When you are using your own Ginjector -- that is if you are not using GWTP's generated ginjector -- you need to add gin.ginjector.modules to GinModules's properties attribute. This will ensure that generated GIN modules are installed.

@GinModules(properties = {"gin.ginjector.modules"})
public interface MyGinjector extends Ginjector {

Install the REST Dispatch module

To ensure the REST Dispatch can work properly, you need to install the RestDispatchAsyncModule in your Gin module as well as bind RestApplicationPath to your server API end-point.

public class DispatchModule extends AbstractGinModule {
    protected void configure() {
        RestDispatchAsyncModule.Builder dispatchBuilder =
            new RestDispatchAsyncModule.Builder();


The RestDispatchAsyncModuleBuilder has the following configuration methods:

  • addGlobalHeaderParam: See Global Parameters;
  • addGlobalQueryParam: See Global Parameters;
  • interceptorRegistry: Needs some documentation, see Client Action Handlers in the meanwhile;
  • exceptionHandler: See Exception Handler;
  • requestTimeout: The number of milliseconds to wait for a request to complete before throwing an exception. Defaults to 0 (no timeout);
  • serialization: The serialization implementation to use. Defaults to JsonSerialization;
  • sessionAccessorType: The class used to retrieve the value of your security cookie. Defaults to DefaultSecurityCookieAccessor;
  • xsrfTokenHeaderName: See CSRF Protection.

Use REST Dispatch

REST Dispatch tries to reduce the amount of boilerplate required by doing code generation. The customization is done through interfaces and annotations. Most annotations come from JSR 311 (Jax RS)'s packages.

Write resources

See files under com.gwtplatform.carstore.shared.api for resource examples.


You can create resources by following the steps below:
* All resources must be interfaces;
* You must annotate your resource with @Path. All methods under this resource will be prepended with this path.
* Methods must have one of the following return type:
* If the return type is an interface (excluding collections and maps), the method will return a sub-resource;
* If the return type is a RestAction<R>, the method will return and end-point. You will be able to pass the
returned instance to RestDispatch. The expected result is represented by the generic R.


In RPC Dispatch, you needed to create custom implementations for every single action. In REST Dispatch, you
return a parameterized interface and the implementation will be generated at compile-time.

Following the steps below, you can create and customize your endpoints:
* All methods can be annotated by @Path("/anypath/{pathparam}"). The string parameter will be appended to your resource's path. As demonstrated, you can optionally specify path parameters by enclosing them between {curly braces}. If a method is not annotated with @Path, the resource's path will be used directly.

  • The HTTP Method is specified by annotating your method with the annotations provided by JSR 311. As of 1.4, REST Dispatch only supports @GET, @PUT, @POST, @DELETE and @HEAD. One and only one of these annotation must be set on end-point methods.

  • For all the supported HTTP methods, you can use one or many of the following declarations:

    • The result is specified in the RestAction<R>'s generic. The following example will deserialize the response and give you a List<Car> instance.
    RestAction<List<Car>> getCars();
    • You can specify header parameters via the @HeaderParam annotation. The following example will send the "Pragma" header along with any value you specify at runtime.
    RestAction<Car> getCars(@HeaderParam("Pragma") String pragma);
    • You can add query parameters to your request URI via the @QueryParam annotation. The following example will create and send the request to a URI with the start and length parameters (ie.: /cars?start=3&length=25).
    RestAction<List<Car>> getCars(@QueryParam("start") int start,
        @QueryParam("length") int length);
    • You can specify path parameters to your request URI via the @PathParam annotation. Your path must contain a parameter identical (case-sensitive) to the one given to @PathParam. The following example will replace the {id} parameter in your path by the specified id (/cars/5).
    RestAction<Car> getCar(@PathParam("id") int id);
  • Additionally, for @PUT or @POST, you can use either of these parameters, but not both:

    • You can add multiple parameters annotated with @FormParam. The request body will then be formatted like a query string would be. The following example will generate this request body: username=admin&password=s3cr3t.
    RestAction<Void> login(@FormParam("username") String username,
        @FormParam("password") String password);
    • Or you can provide a single object without any annotation and it will be serialized and sent as your request body.
      It must match the following rules to be a valid request body:
      • This parameter can be at any position in the signature;
      • There must be one and only one such parameter;
      • It must not be annotated by any of the previous annotations;
      • It must not be combined with any other @FormParam parameters.
    RestAction<Car> saveCar(@PathParam("id") int id, Car car);


If a resource returns another resource interface, then the returned resource will be a sub-resource. Methods returning a resource accept the same annotations and parameters then end-points. They will be carried all the way down to your endpoints.

Use your REST resources

Using your resources is probably the most straight-forward step:

  1. You need to inject RestDispatch and your resource.
        RestDispatch dispatcher,
        CarsResource carsResource) {
    this.dispatcher = dispatcher;
    this.carsResource = carsResource;
  1. Then you will pass the instance returned by your delegate to RestDispatch, with a callback. ie:
    new AsyncCallback<Car>() {
        public void onSuccess(Void nothing) { /* snip */ }

        public void onFailure(Throwable caught) { /* snip */ }

Additionally, you can retrieve the raw Response object received from the server. To do so, pass a RestCallback instead of an AsyncCallback. You will have to implement an additional setResponse() method. This method will be called before onSuccess or onFailure. Your endpoint call would then look like:

    new RestCallback<Car>() {
        public void setResponse(Response response) { /* snip */ }

        public void onSuccess(Void nothing) { /* snip */ }

        public void onFailure(Throwable caught) { /* snip */ }

CSRF Protection

Rest-Dispatch offers a built-in way to secure your server calls from CSRF attacks through a security cookie. To enable CSRF protection, you must bind @SecurityCookie to the cookie name used to transport your security token.

The second configurable option is xsrfTokenHeaderName. It allows you to change the header used to transport your security token. The default value is X-CSRF-Token.

For example

protected GinModule extends AbstractGinModule {
    protected void configure() {
        install(new RestDispatchAsyncModuleBuilder()

public interface MyResource {
    RestAction<MyPojo> getMe();

    DetailsResource details();

will add this header for every getMe() request sent to the server: Protection-Token: value_stored_in_jsessionid.

You can also disable CSRF protection for specific endpoints or resources by using @NoXsrfHeader. In the example above, all requests sent after calling details() will not include the CSRF protection header. This annotation can be applied to resources, sub-resource methods and endpoint methods.

You can read CSRF Protection for more details.

Global Parameters

If you have header or query parameters you wish to add to every requests, you can save up on the boilerplate by configuring them through RestDispatchAsyncModuleBuilder.addGlobalHeaderParam(String key) and RestDispatchAsyncModuleBuilder.addGlobalQueryParam(String key).

The builder also makes it possible to specify to which HTTP methods the configured parameters should be attached.

For example

public class MyModule extends AbstractPresenterModule {
    protected void configure() {
        install(new RestDispatchAsyncModuleBuilder()
                .toHttpMethods(DELETE, POST, PUT)

would configure the header Pragma: NoCache for all DELETE, POST and PUT requests and the query parameter format=xml for all GET requests.


Resource Delegates will allow your end-point methods to return the result type directly. This is very useful when you want to reuse your interfaces and the annotations on server implementations of those resources. The downside is that you will lose type safety from your callbacks.

There are some extension points available through the dispatch code. You should not need them unless you have a very specific use case. If you do, feel free to browse the code: many classes are extendable and have protected methods that you can override to extend their functionality. The generators also support extensions.