Json – Posting a File and Associated Data to a RESTful WebService preferably as JSON

file-uploadgrailsjsonrest

This is probably going to be a stupid question but I'm having one of those nights. In an application I am developing RESTful API and we want the client to send data as JSON. Part of this application requires the client to upload a file (usually an image) as well as information about the image.

I'm having a hard time tracking down how this happens in a single request. Is it possible to Base64 the file data into a JSON string? Am I going to need to perform 2 posts to the server? Should I not be using JSON for this?

As a side note, we're using Grails on the backend and these services are accessed by native mobile clients (iPhone, Android, etc), if any of that makes a difference.

Best Solution

I asked a similar question here:

How do I upload a file with metadata using a REST web service?

You basically have three choices:

  1. Base64 encode the file, at the expense of increasing the data size by around 33%, and add processing overhead in both the server and the client for encoding/decoding.
  2. Send the file first in a multipart/form-data POST, and return an ID to the client. The client then sends the metadata with the ID, and the server re-associates the file and the metadata.
  3. Send the metadata first, and return an ID to the client. The client then sends the file with the ID, and the server re-associates the file and the metadata.