Restful API Architecture & Web Services
Representative State Transfer (REST) or RESTful programming is the underlying principle that allows the computers on the internet to interact with each other. It is a style that transforms the information into the first class element of any architecture. Performance, generality, simplicity, scalability and modifiability are among the key benefits of RESTful architecture.
REST architecture is not a library that you can to your program or a technology you can purchase, it is a set of guidelines and instructions that should be followed while the construction of web services or web applications.
The basic concept of RESTful Architecture was introduced for the first time by Roy Fielding’s Ph.D. thesis. The main idea of Representative State Transfers architectural style is that by making specific architectural choices we can extract the desirable properties of the system. Another one of our popular blogs included a list of companies using Restful APIs with Webhooks
When a system is based on REST architectural style the following architectural properties are introduced in it
The component interactions is a dominant factor in network efficiency and user perceived performance.
Scalability is an important property that allows huge interaction between components and supports a large number of components.
The uniform interface in REST architectural style in simple.
This property allows the developer to make changes in the components according to developing needs. This process can be done even when the application is running.
The communication between components and service agents (Servers) is visible.
The components are portable which allows the program code to move along with the data.
The REST architectural system is extremely reliable because the whole system does not fail even if there is a failure at components, connectors or data level.
The 6 constraints that are defined in REST architecture, which must be followed to get the properties of a RESTful program are
The first constraint that is added to this style in the client-server architectural style. This style is based on the principles of separation of concerns. We are able to improve the portability of the system by separating user interface and data storage concerns,
When the communication between clients and servers take place no context stored on the server. Instead, each request from the client contains enough data for the completion of that request.
The clients and intermediaries are able to cache the responses. To be able to do this the response must be defined as cache-able.
- Interface/ Uniform Contract
This constraint is the fundamental principle of RESTful architectural design. The uniform interface is able to simplify the architectural structure. This simplification allows the system to evolve independently.
- Layered System
The layered system means that the client cannot tell whether it is connected to the server directly or an intermediary is involved. The layering of the system ensures scalability by load distribution it can also be used to make the system more secure.
- Code on Demand (optional)
The servers have the ability to extend or customize any client’s functionality by transferring executable codes. This constraint is considered optional.
Each of these constraints is a design decision that can have positive and negative impacts on the system. Any architecture that does not follow any of these constraints, except for the Code on Demand because it is optional, is no longer considered a RESTful architecture.
Benefits of using RESTful Architecture:
- RESTful as lightweight Web Services
The RESTful architecture can be considered as a reaction to more heavy SOAP based architectural standards. The main emphasis in REST based Web Services in simple point to point communication. Another benefit is that RESTful permits many different data formats where as SOAP only permits XML.
- The simplicity of RESTful
It is much simpler and easy to develop than a SOAP-based architecture.
- RESTful architecture, Closer in design to the Web
Being the basis of the web itself, the RESTful style comes naturally to any developer with knowledge of web architecture.
- Scalability of RESTful
As there are no conversational states between clients and servers, the RESTful architecture can be used to scale the services very wide by additional server nodes.
- Expose APIs and HTTP Services
The RESTful APIs are exposed as HTTP services, in this way the developer can achieve universal presence with very little effort.Tags: RESTful API, Web Services