Consume a REST Service

Last update: Edit

1 Introduction

In your Mendix app, you can use information from REST services. This how-to shows you how to do that through an example in which you create an app that retrieves Wikipedia pages from a REST service. The resulting app is available for download.

This how-to will teach you how to do the following:

  • Call the REST service in a microflow

2 Creating a JSON Structure

The Wikipedia REST service allows you to retrieve the summary of a page. This service can be reached at{title}, where {title} is the title of a page.

We will start by providing the Modeler as an example of what the REST service returns:

  1. Open your browser and go to

    • This calls the REST service with a GET request – the result is the summary of the Tahiti page on Wikipedia in the JSON format

    Screenshot of the result of the rest call

  2. Copy the whole JSON snippet.

  3. Now you need to add a new JSON structure to your app. A JSON structure contains sample JSON that you can use in the app. To do this, follow these steps in the Desktop Modeler:
    a. Right-click the module in the Project Explorer.
    b. Select Add > Mapping > JSON structure.
    c. Paste the JSON snippet.

  4. Click Refresh. This analyzes the structure of the JSON snippet so we can use later.

  5. Click OK.

3 Creating an Import Mapping

An import mapping specifies how the JSON relates to entities. Here we will generate those entities, but generally you can map the JSON to any entity you like.

To create an import mapping:

  1. Add a new Import Mapping.
  2. Click the radio button for JSON structure and then click Select.
  3. Double-click JSON_structure.
  4. Click Expand all and then click Check all.

  5. Click OK. You will now see the structure on the right.

  6. Click Map automatically in the editor toolbar. The Modeler will inform you that it has applied some changes. That means that it has generated entities that match the JSON structure.

  7. Click Close.

4 Adding an Input Entity to the Domain Model

Our sevice takes the title of the page as an input. It returns the summary of the page.

In this section, you are creating an entity that represents this input and associating it with its summary.

To add an input entity to the domain model, follow these steps:

  1. In the Project Explorer, double-click the Domain Model.
  2. Rename Root to Summary.
  3. From the Toolbox, drag an Entity onto the domain model.
  4. Double-click the entity and enter Input for the Name.
  5. For Persistable, select No.
  6. On the Attributes tab, click New to add a string attribute and name it Title.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Drag an association from Input to Summary.

5 Calling the REST Service in a Microflow

You will now call the REST service in a microflow. The microflow takes an Input as a parameter and sets the associated Summary.

To call the REST service in a microflow, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new microflow.
  2. Add an Input object as an input parameter.
  3. From the Toolbox, drag a Call REST service activity onto the microflow and double-click it.
  4. Edit the location to{1}, with the parameter $Input/Title.

  5. On the Response tab, set Response handling to Apply import mapping (or to Import mapping for the entire response, depending on your Modeler version).

  6. Click Select and double-click Import_mapping.

  7. For Variable, enter Summary.

  8. Click OK.

  9. From the Toolbox, drag a Change object activity onto the microflow and double-click it.

  10. For the Variable, select Input (MyFirstModule.Input).

  11. For Refresh in client, select Yes. This makes sure that the summary gets shown on the screen.

  12. Click New.

  13. Under Member, select MyFirstModule.Input_Summary (MyFirstModule.Summary).

  14. Under Value, enter $Summary.

  15. Click OK

  16. Click OK

There you have it: a microflow that takes the title of an article as input and associates it with its summary.

The rest of this how-to will describe turning this microflow into an app. It doesn’t deal with consuming REST services anymore, so you only need to follow along if you want to see the REST call in action.

6 Creating a Page

To create a page for this app, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Homepage and add a Data view.
  2. From the Connector, drag the Input entity onto to the [Unknown] bar.
  3. Select Microflow.
  4. For the Name, enter CreateInput. Please note that when this page loads, it needs a new Input object – you will fill the CreateInput microflow that creates this object below.
  5. Click OK.
  6. From Container widgets, add a new Table with one row and two columns.
  7. Drag the Title field onto the left column.
  8. From the Project Explorer, drag Microflow onto the right column.
  9. On the Properties tab, enter Get summary for the caption of the button.
  10. Add a Data view below the table (inside the other data view).
  11. From the Connector, drag the Summary entity onto the [Unknown] bar.
  12. Click OK.
  13. From this data view, delete all the fields except Extract.
  14. Double-click Extract.
  15. For Show label, select No.
  16. Click OK.
  17. Delete the Save and Cancel buttons.

7 Filling In the CreateInput Microflow

Now all that is left is to have the CreateInput microflow create a new Input object.

To fill in the CreateInput microflow, follow these steps:

  1. In the Project Explorer, double-click CreateInput.
  2. From the Toolbox, drag on a Create object activity.
  3. Double-click the activity.
  4. Click Select… and double-click Input.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Double-click the red End event.
  7. Under Return value, enter $NewInput.
  8. Click OK

Congratulations! You can now start your app and get summaries from Wikipedia.

8 Example

How to consume REST natively with Mendix

9 Read More