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  • REST - Representational State Transfer

    General

    Thomas Roy Fielding described in a dissertation, an architecture that he called REpresentational State Transfer architecture or short REST. Fielding postulated general rules that be successfully used in the largest distributed application at all, the World Wide Web. Many search engines, booking systems and shops are already available as REST based web services, without that this would have been planned in the development. REpresentational State Transfer describes an architecture for distributed applications that abstracts the principles of the World Wide Web, in particular the HTTP protocol, and offers a model for extensions.

    REST describes an application model that uses Web standards in a Web compliant way.

    Ressources

    Web pages, images and CGI scripts or servlets represent resources, which can be addressed via URLs. The direct editing of a resource is not possible instead HTTP requests are sent to the resource. Of central importance are the following CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) compatible HTTP methods:

    • POST - Creates a new resource
    • GET - Gets the data of the resource
    • PUT - Changes the resource
    • DELETE - Deletes the resource

    With these simple methods (Verbs) is determined which action is to execute with the resource. The simplest example of such a request is to retrieve a page in the browser. In this way, the HTTP method 'GET' is applied to a resource which is defined by the URL and the data delivered in HTML format is displayed in the browser.

    Representation

    A resource should be able to make their data available in different ways. Possible representations can be HTML format, XML format, PDF, graphics, or other. It is important that client and server can negotiate a format that both understand.

    Stateless Communication

    Information exchange is basically stateless in the REST architecture. This means that there is no data from the last request of the clients saved at the server. The client must on every request pass all for the processing of the request required information. As a result of this principle the system resources required by the server are drastically reduced and the scalability of an application is greatly increased.

    The client traverses from status to status.

    By using the options / state transitions (e.g. links) offered by the server, the client can change its status and reach its destination.It is important, that the client has all necessary information, made available by the server, so that he can take the next step.