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Chapter 12. Declarative Hyperlinking

RESTful APIs must be hypertext-driven. JAX-RS currently offers UriBuilder to simplify URI creation but Jersey adds an additional annotation-based alternative that is described here.


This API is currently under development and experimental so it is subject to change at any time.

12.1. Dependency

To use Declarative Linking you need to add jersey-jersey.ent module to your pom.xml file:


If you're not using Maven make sure to have all needed dependencies (see jersey-declarative-linking) on the classpath.

12.2. Links in Representations

Links are added to representations using the @InjectLink annotation on entity class fields. The Jersey runtime is responsible for injecting the appropriate URI into the field prior to serialization by a message body writer. E.g. consider the following resource and entity classes:

public class WidgetsResource {
    public Widgets get() {
        return new Widgets();

public class Widgets {
    URI u;

After a call toWidgetsResource#get, the Jersey runtime will inject the value "/context/widgets" [1] into the returned Widgets instance. If an absolute URI is desired instead of an absolute path then the annotation can be changed to @InjectLink(resource=WidgetsResource.class, style=ABSOLUTE).

The above usage works nicely when there's already a URI template on a class that you want to reuse. If there's no such template available then you can use a literal value instead of a reference. E.g. the following is equivalent to the earlier example: @InjectLink(value="widgets", style=ABSOLUTE).

12.3. Binding Template Parameters

Referenced or literal templates may contain parameters. Two forms of parameters are supported:

  • URI template parameters, e.g. widgets/{id} where {id} represents a variable part of the URI.

  • EL expressions, e.g. widgets/${} where ${} is an EL expression.

Parameter values can be extracted from three implicit beans:


Represents the instance of the class that contains the annotated field.


Represents the entity class instance returned by the resource method.


Represents the resource class instance that returned the entity.

By default URI template parameter values are extracted from the implicit instance bean, i.e. the following two annotations are equivalent:



The source for URI template parameter values can be changed using the @Binding annotation, E.g. the following three annotations are equivalent:

@InjectLink(value="widgets/{id}", bindings={
    @Binding(name="id" value="${}"}

@InjectLink(value="widgets/{value}", bindings={

12.4. Conditional Link Injection

Link value injection can be made conditional by use of the condition property. The value of this property is a boolean EL expression and a link will only be injected if the condition expression evaluates to true. E.g.:

URI offers;

In the above, a URI will only be injected into the offers field if the offers property of the instance is true.

12.5. List of Link Injection

You can inject multiple links into an array of a List collection type. E.g.:

@InjectLinks({@InjectLink(resource=WidgetsResource.class, rel = "self")})
List<Link> links

12.6. Link Headers

HTTP Link headers can also be added to responses using annotations. Instead of annotating the fields of an entity class with @InjectLink, you instead annotate the entity class itself with @InjectLinks. E.g.:

    [email protected]("widgets/${resource.nextId}"),

The above would insert a HTTP Link header into any response whose entity was thus annotated. The @InjectLink annotation contains properties that map to the parameters of the HTTP Link header. The above specifies the link relation as next. All properties of the @InjectLink annotation may be used as described above.

Multiple link headers can be added by use of the @InjectLinks annotation which can contain multiple @InjectLink annotations.

12.7. Configure and register

In order to add the Declarative Linking feature register DeclarativeLinkingFeature

Example 12.1. Creating JAX-RS application with Declarative Linking feature enabled.

// Create JAX-RS application.
final Application application = new ResourceConfig()

[1] Where /context is the application deployment context.