Essential Guide

Guide: When and how to use REST

Introduction

Representational state transfer (REST) is a stateless software architecture that reads webpages containing XML. REST, which some architects view as a simpler alternative to Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services Description Language Web services, has become a popular Web application program interface (API) model over the years. A RESTful API, or RESTful Web service, uses both HTTP and REST.

This REST guide brings together a range of stories that highlight when it's best to implement REST, especially in comparison with SOAP and with an API.

1REST vs. SOAP-

When to use REST instead of SOAP

SOA and REST each have favorable qualities and have been compared to each other from the start. Maybe the question shouldn't be whether SOA or REST is best, but rather when they can be combined in order to meet an organization's goals.

Tip

When, why SOA and RESTful interfaces should be combined

The debate between SOA and RESTful interfaces has raged for a while, but many application architects say they are confused as to which one is better. Continue Reading

Tip

How to choose between SOAP and REST Web services

Here is a breakdown of when it's best to use REST or SOAP Web services. Continue Reading

Answer

Benefits of using REST in mobile applications

When choosing between REST or SOAP for mobile apps, it's important to remember there are two major models: native and wrapped mobile web applications. Continue Reading

2REST and APIs-

Relationship between REST and APIs

Mobile and cloud applications, social networking websites, and automated business processes are among the drivers fueling the need for RESTful APIs. Application architects can find themselves with a good headache if they don't completely understand the technology.

Feature

REST approach gains popularity with software pros

Software developers are demanding APIs that are delivered in a RESTful, resource based way, and one way to do that is by building with the RESTlet framework. Continue Reading

Tip

Naming strategies for RESTful Web services

New descriptive languages like WADL and WSDL 2.0 are making it possible to describe the RESTful contract to client applications. However, if your RESTful web services are not named effectively, the mechanism for describing the interface may run out of steam. Continue Reading

Feature

REST APIs more important in application integration design

Architecture changes today center on design of the API, says Gartner. The API increasingly supports REST interfaces. Continue Reading

3More on REST-

More on REST uses

Everything from enterprise service buses (ESBs) to health care can have a part in RESTful integration. Here are some other stories involving the platform.

Feature

REST architecture in health IT

Gerald Beuchelt, project software systems engineer at MITRE, discusses the role of RESTful services in building a national health IT infrastructure. Continue Reading

Answer

An ESB's role in RESTful integration

ESBs may move from the central integration hub toward a specialized role integrating new RESTful architecture with legacy applications. Continue Reading

Tip

Deploying RESTful services: Think like a developer

Organizations need to think about a developer’s needs in the development or deployment of RESTful services. Read this tip by George Lawton that will help create better REST interfaces. Continue Reading