How to return a PNG image from Jersey REST service method to the browser

I’m not convinced its a good idea to return image data in a REST service. It ties up your application server’s memory and IO bandwidth. Much better to delegate that task to a proper web server that is optimized for this kind of transfer. You can accomplish this by sending a redirect to the image resource (as a HTTP 302 response with the URI of the image). This assumes of course that your images are arranged as web content.

Having said that, if you decide you really need to transfer image data from a web service you can do so with the following (pseudo) code:

public Response getFullImage(...) {

    BufferedImage image = ...;

    ByteArrayOutputStream baos = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
    ImageIO.write(image, "png", baos);
    byte[] imageData = baos.toByteArray();

    // uncomment line below to send non-streamed
    // return Response.ok(imageData).build();

    // uncomment line below to send streamed
    // return Response.ok(new ByteArrayInputStream(imageData)).build();

Add in exception handling, etc etc.

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