RESTfull brief overview

Putting some thoughts mainly for newbies trying to understand REST. Sometimes I observed that the actual documentation on the web is too technical or abstract and scattered which a bit difficult for newbies..  I am writing down some broad points which in my view REST is and it’s equation with HTTP … these points based on my reading and experience working with REST. It doesn’t replace any of REST documentation. Advised to go through references given at the end for detaled study.
  • REST  REpresentational State Transfer is a design pattern/design concept (architecture) used in web applications for managing state information-> REST is not a tool/techology/specification/protocol. In other words, REST isn’t a tangible thing like a piece of software or even a specification, it’s a selection of ideals, of best practices distilled from the HTTP specs.
  •  If you are using HTTP you are being RESTful to some degree since HTTP is a REST protocol, but to take full advantage of the platform, APIs should use RESTful practices as much as possible.
  • We can make our application more RESTful by using the correct HTTP methods.
  • RESTful Web service is required to be stateless in it’s communication between server and client  so you should be able to request almost any format while non-REST mainly SOAP uses XML.
  • URL is the important part of REST. REST is more than GET/POST actually browsers pretty much just GET stuff. They don’t do a lot of other types of interaction with resources. This is a problem because it has led many people to assume that HTTP is just for GETing. But HTTP is actually ageneral purpose protocol for applying http verbs (HTTP verbs (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc.) to nouns (object/web page which has a URL).

Recommended reading:

Paper by Roy Fielding http://www.ics.uci.edu/~fielding/pubs/dissertation/top.htm

HTTP Specs http://www.w3.org/Protocols/Specs.html

How I Explained REST to My Wife:
http://www.looah.com/source/view/2284

Happy reading!