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REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is a phrase coined by Roy Fielding in his dissertation Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures. It is an attempt to describe the undocumented architectural design principles behind the Web. In fact you are using the World's largest and most popular REST system right now, yes, the World Wide Web. "The World Wide Web architecture has evolved into a novel architectural style that I call 'representational state transfer.' Using elements of the client/server, pipe-and-filter, and distributed objects paradigms, this style optimises the network transfer of representations of a resource. REST : Paul James
A RESTful Web service It's often hard for people to "get" REST, this is mostly due to the fact that 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. I've always found that the best way to understand something is to see an example, to see the principles in action first and worry about the details later once I understand the general gist. So here's a little example of a RESTful version of a simple Web service you might already know about, the Delicious API. Delicious has “a simple REST API”, or rather, a simple POX over HTTP API, that is, it has a perfectly usable HTTP and XML based API for accessing your bookmarks and tags, but it isn't very RESTful. Why not? First class objects aren't exposed as resources, so we can't access our bookmarks or tags directly.
Let's take a simple web service as an example: querying a phonebook application for the details of a given user. All we have is the user's ID. Using Web Services and SOAP, the request would look something like this: <?
Representational state transfer (REST) is an architectural style consisting of a coordinated set of architectural constraints applied to components, connectors, and data elements, within a distributed hypermedia system. REST ignores the details of component implementation and protocol syntax in order to focus on the roles of components, the constraints upon their interaction with other components, and their interpretation of significant data elements. The term representational state transfer was introduced and defined in 2000 by Roy Fielding in his doctoral dissertation at UC Irvine. REST has been applied to describe desired web architecture, to identify existing problems, to compare alternative solutions, and to ensure that protocol extensions would not violate the core constraints that make the Web successful. Fielding used REST to design HTTP 1.1 and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI).
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