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When to use @QueryParam vs @PathParam

I am not asking the question that is already asked here: What is the difference between @PathParam and @QueryParam

This is a “best practices” or convention question.

When would you use @PathParam vs @QueryParam.

What I can think of that the decision might be using the two to differentiate the information pattern. Let me illustrate below my LTPO – less than perfect observation.

PathParam use could be reserved for information category, which would fall nicely into a branch of an information tree. PathParam could be used to drill down to entity class hierarchy.

Whereas, QueryParam could be reserved for specifying attributes to locate the instance of a class.

For example,

  • /Vehicle/Car?registration=123
  • /House/Colonial?region=newengland


Patient getEmployee(@PathParam("dept")Long dept, @QueryParam("id")Long id) ;

vs /category/instance

Patient getEmployee(@PathParam("dept")Long dept, @PathParam("id")Long id) ;

vs ?category+instance

Patient getEmployee(@QueryParam("dept")Long dept, @QueryParam("id")Long id) ;

I don’t think there is a standard convention of doing it. Is there? However, I would like to hear of how people use PathParam vs QueryParam to differentiate their information like I exemplified above. I would also love to hear the reason behind the practice.



REST may not be a standard as such, but reading up on general REST documentation and blog posts should give you some guidelines for a good way to structure API URLs. Most rest APIs tend to only have resource names and resource IDs in the path. Such as:


Some REST APIs use query strings for filtering, pagination and sorting, but Since REST isn’t a strict standard I’d recommend checking some REST APIs out there such as github and stackoverflow and see what could work well for your use case.

I’d recommend putting any required parameters in the path, and any optional parameters should certainly be query string parameters. Putting optional parameters in the path will end up getting really messy when trying to write URL handlers that match different combinations.

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