Java – How to properly send an HTTP message to the client


I'm working on a RESTful web service in Java. I need a good way to send error messages to the client if something's wrong.

According to the Javadoc, HttpServletResponse.setStatus(int status, String message) is deprecated "due to ambiguous meaning of the message parameter."

Is there a preferred way to set the status message or "reason phrase" of the response? The sendError(int, String) method doesn't do it.

To clarify, I want to modify the HTTP status line, i.e. "HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found", not the body content. Specifically, I'd like to send responses like "HTTP/1.1 400 Missing customerNumber parameter".

Best Solution

I don't think any RESTful client would expect to look at the reason phrase to figure out what went wrong; most RESTful services I've seen/used will send the standard status info and an expanded message in the body of the response. sendError(int, String) is ideal for that situation.