Fork me on GitHub

Arturo Volpe

I am a software engineer. Interested in open source, open data and devops.

Dropwizard Metrics with JaxRS

19 May 2017 » develop

Dropwizard Metrics is a Java library that provides tools to measure an application.

Dropwizard offer various tools that help you with distinct metrics, like gauges, counters, histograms and other.

The library has two phases, the first is the recollection of data and the second is the reporting of the collected data to a data collector, in this post we will integrate the recollection of data to an existing standard Java EE application.

First we need to create a MetricRegistry instance that will allows us to create the various objects than implement the metric recollection, this registry can be stored in a Application Bean if you are using CDI, or in an Singleton bean if you are using only EJB.

This class can look like:

public class Registry {

    private MetricRegistry metricRegistry;

    public void init() {

        metricRegistry = new MetricRegistry();


    public Counter counter(Class<?> clazz, String resource) {
        return metricRegistry.counter(, resource));

    public Timer timer(Class<?> clazz, String resource) {
        return metricRegistry.timer(, resource));

    private void configureListeners() {
        // in this part we can configure the data recollection tools, like        
        // the ConsoleReporter or the GraphiteReporter

In this example we provide only two collectors, you can implement the others in a similar way.

Simple usage

Now, we can use this bean, suppose we has a redis connection managed by Jedis, Jedis provides us with a class called JedisPool that is a pool of jedis instances.

This pool can have multiple jedis instances inside, and we are interested in the number of instances that are used, and how many instances are available at any moment, for this we can use metrics.

So we create a class that has a @Produces the jedis instances, something like this:

public class JedisProvider {

    private MetricRegistry metricRegistry;

     * Our pool
    private JedisPool jedisPool;

     * Our metrics counter
    private Counter counter;

    public void init() {

        JedisPoolConfig jedisConfig = new JedisPoolConfig();
        jedisPool = new JedisPool(jedisConfig, "localhost", "5432");

        counter = registry.counter(getClass(), "redis");

    public Jedis build() {;
        return provider.getResource();
    public void close(@Disposes Jedis jedis) {

With this, every time a new @Inject Jedis jedis is processed, the counter will increase, and after the bean has been used, the counter will decrement.

For this example we can also use gauges.

Using JaxRS request and response filters

Metrics provide a interesting measure, the Timer. This measure has a annotation called @Timed, unfortunately I was unable to find any implementation that works will JaxRS (and Resteasy, there is an Jersey implementation, but use custom Jersey function and classes).

We can create our custom @Timed annotation, and annotate it with @NameBinding, so we can use it as a binding annotation and is available to us in the JaxRS filters.

The annotation looks like:

@Target({ ElementType.TYPE, ElementType.METHOD })
public @interface Timed {

And we can implement a simple JaxRS filter like this:

public class MetricsFilter implements ContainerRequestFilter, ContainerResponseFilter {

    private ResourceInfo resourceInfo;

    private Registry registry;

    private HttpServletRequest servletRequest;

    public void filter(ContainerRequestContext requestContext) throws IOException {

        Timer timer = registry.timer(
        Timer.Context counter = timer.time();
        servletRequest.setAttribute("timer.context", counter);

    public void filter(
             ContainerRequestContext requestContext, 
             ContainerResponseContext responseContext) 
        throws IOException {

        Timer.Context tc = (Timer.Context) servletRequest.getAttribute("timer.context");
        if (tc != null) {


This will intercept every petition to a class (or method) annotated with @Timed, and it will create a timer that will measure the duration of the request.

Important notes:

  1. If we don’t use the @PreMatching annotation, this will be invoked after JaxRS find outs what method to invoke, so the time to find the correct method is not calculated.
  2. This will not use any client side information, and only rely on the time that our methods take to execute
  3. This will store the Context object in the servlet request, if we don’t want to populate our request, and later calculate the time.

We can use this like this:

    public Response authenticateUser(String email, String password, User.Type type) {
       // do important work