REST: From Research to Practice

pp 35-57


REST and Web Services: In Theory and in Practice

  • Paul AdamczykAffiliated withBooz Allen Hamilton Inc. Email author 
  • , Patrick H. SmithAffiliated withBooz Allen Hamilton Inc.
  • , Ralph E. JohnsonAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Munawar HafizAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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There are two competing architectural styles employed for building Web services: RESTful services and services based on the WS– ∗ standards (also known as “SOAP Web services”). These two styles have separate follower bases, but many differences between them are ideological rather than factual. In order to promote the healthy growth of Web services research and practice, it is important to distinguish arguments for implementation practices over abstract concepts represented by these styles, carefully evaluating the respective advantages of RESTful and WS– ∗ Web services. Understanding these distinctions is especially critical for the development of enterprise systems, because in this domain, tool vendors have preferred WS– ∗ services to the neglect of RESTful solutions. This chapter evaluates some of the key questions regarding the real and perceived distinctions between these two styles of Web services. It analyzes how the current tools for building RESTful Web services embody the principles of REST. Finally, it presents select open research questions to further the growth of RESTful Web services.