HTTP Pattern: Builder

Published on August 21, 2017

A builder resource is much like a factory resource in that it is used to create another resource, however, it is a transient resource that enables idempotent creation and allows the client to specify values that cannot change over the lifetime of the created resource.


It is often desirable for resource creation to be idempotent. This requires the client to create a unique identifier for the new resource and issue a PUT request. However, PUT can be used to both create and update resources. How can a client proactively prevent a client from attempting to update properties of the resource that are only intended to be specified at the point of creation?


The POST method is used to indicate an unsafe request is being made and the response should return a 201 - Created with a Location header that points to the newly created resource.

POST /FooFactory
201 Created 

There may or may not be a request body. For some resource factories it may be required to pass some kind of parameters in the request body. In other cases a request body may just be used to override default values.

The response body may choose to include a representation of the newly created resource, in which case a Content-Location header may be appropriate. Or the response body could contain status information related to the creation request.

It may be useful for the ResourceFactory to implement a GET method that can return a template with default values that can be modified by the client before being POSTed back to the ResourceFactory.


This pattern naturally occurs for most scenarios where POST is used to create new resources. Often the factory resource doubles as a collection of the resource to be created. e.g. POST /messages might create a resource that appears structurally as a child resource /messages/75. However, there is no requirement for the new resource to be created with a URL that has any correlation to the ResourceFactory.