Measure Once, Cut Twice

Model Your Resources Well and Don’t Worry About the REST

Posted in REST, software development by steve on April 20, 2010

RESTfully modelling transient resources, events, collections, and other application facets can be difficult. The post “Square Peg, REST hole” nails it and has an excellent discussion in the comments section. While I am a fan of REST and have been following the “web architecture friendly web services” debate since before dissertation-REST existed, what has become clear over the past few years is that:

90% of the value of REST is idempotent GETs on well named, hackable resources

And yes, hackable URLs are not a part of REST, but they certainly are an integral part of the success of web architecture friendly web services in the real world. REST wouldn’t be winning over SOAP if it wasn’t for all the successful semi-RESTful APIs that developers found far more intuitive and usable. So if you model your Resources right and people can intuitively GET them, you probably don’t need to sweat the rest of the details.

A corollary to this is that if the majority of your application doesn’t involve getting resources that are at least in the granularity ballpark of a document, then REST may not be that important to you.

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