Support for RESTful invocation of Business Task and Business Entity Methods


The support for invoking Business Tasks and Business Entity Methods through the RESTful interface is based on the requirements described in this article: RESTful services. Particularly the RestEntitiesWebHandler and the RestResourceService (as a Service Instance of the IRestResourceService). 

Business Task methods and Business Entity methods are exposed as RESTful resources using the same set of annotations - and actually share a lot of similarities. Business Entity invokable methods are typically PUBLIC VOID methods with a ProDataset INPUT-OUTPUT parameter and a (JSON serializable) parameter object. Business Task methods are typically PUBLIC VOID methods with zero to five ProDataset INPUT-OUTPUT parameters and a (JSON serializable) parameter object. 

Known limitations

Due to limitations of the ABL reflection API, we currently do not support ProDatasets passed as the input to Business Task and Business Entity methods. This limitation has been accepted in our design process as we expect a majority of use-cases for RESTful invocation of Business Task and Business Entity methods just requires to return data in ProDatasets, not to receive data. So, the only input message to the invokable messages supported through the RESTful interface is the parameter object instance. 

As ABL reflection is not capable of providing the schema of the ProDataset parameters we've had to balance the requirement to provide the schema of the ProDataset parameters manually (through code in the Business Tasks) with ease of use. The schema of ProDataset parameters is required as the loosely typed JSON messages do not allow the AVM to securely create an input ProDataset "on the fly" without losing schema compatibility with the strongly typed Dataset's used within Business Tasks and Business Entities. 

Preparing Business Tasks and Entities for RESTful invocation of methods

Business Tasks

A Business Task needs to implement the ISupportsRestMethods interface in order to support RESTful invocation. This Interface is expected by the IRestResourceService.

A typical implementation of the required GetRestMethods method looks like this:

Business Entities

Business Entities implement the GetRestMethods method by inheriting from the Consultingwerk.OERA.BusinessEntity class. It is however still required to declare the Interface in the Business Entity class header:

Defining RESTful interfaces for invokable methods

RESTful interfaces for Business Entity methods are defined by a @RestMethod annotations attached to the method (just before the METHOD block). 

Arguments of the @RestMethod annotation

The annotation provides the following arguments:

addressnoThe URI pattern to invoke the method. When not specified the pattern /{methodName} is used by default
ParameterClassNamenoThe name of the parameter class to instantiate for calling into the method. When not specified, we will pass an unknown value (?) to the method.
RequestMethodnoThe http method for the call described by this annotation. When not specified, get will be assumed as the default.
ResponseyesComma delimited list of the components for the JSON response of the REST request. Components are "return" and the names of the ProDataset parameters are the name of the parameter object.

Every invokable method may be annotated with more than a single @RestMethod annotation to provide alternative URI's for the same method.

Arguments of the @ParameterSchema annotation

When Business Task methods are configured to return a Dataset as the method response, it's required to provide an XSD file with the ProDataset schema to be included in the method documentation, e.g.:


The name of the dataset


The path reference to the dataset schema

The @ParameterSchema annotation is optional. 

Population of the Parameter object

The REST request to the annotated method will be used to populate the properties of the method's parameter object using the following sources:

  1. For GET requests, the query string is first parsed and query string values will be used to populate the same named properties of the parameter object
  2. For all other request methods, e.g. POST, the request entity (request payload) - when the request entity represents a JSON object - is used to deserialize a JSON serializable parameter object.
  3. For all request methods (GET, POST, ...), the path parameter arguments are also assigned to properties of the parameter object. This is performed at the end, so that path parameters, as the strongest component of the request URI, overwrite properties assigned by query string components or deserialized form the request entity (request payload).  

Population of the JSON response of the request

The JSON response object can either be populated by the return value of the method alone or a combination of the return value, the parameter object and the ProDataset parameter(s). For the return value we support both Consultingwerk.JsonSerializable derived types and JsonObjects/JsonArrays. For the parameter object we only support JsonSerializable instances. 


Classic invokable method of a Business Entity

This annotation defines a method which will be exposed using a GET request under an URI like this:


The method parameter object (PutOnHoldParameter) is populated with the Comments property as specified in the query string of the get request and the CustNum value of 42 from the path parameter.  The request will return the ProDataset dsCustomer to the caller.

Business Task method returning a serializable object to the caller

This annotation defines an endpoint for a Business Task method that will be exposed using a GET request under an URI like this:


The method parameter object properties are populated from the two values in the query string.  The request will return the serialized DecimalHolder instance:

The same method can also be exposed like this:


Business Task method returning two ProDatasets and optionally the parameter object

This method allows clients to provide the Value property of the IntegerHolder parameter in one of three ways:

GET http://localhost:8820/web/Entities/GetCustomerAndInvoices?Value=1

GET http://localhost:8820/web/Entities/GetCustomerAndInvoices/1

POST http://localhost:8820/web/Entities/GetCustomerAndInvoices with a JSON payload like: