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What We Need is More REST and Less ROT

Mike Amundsen (Layer 7 Technologies)
Programming
Location: Portland 255
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 15 ratings)

One of the key properties of RESTful Web applications is the ability to evolve over time. Too many Web APIs don’t evolve; they just get old, and useless; they rot. Why? Because they are little more than URI-based RPC calls returning serialized objects. Instead, Web APIs should rely on well-crafted media-type messages driven by links; they should be more RESTful.

This talk covers a handful of key design decisions that must be faced for every Web 2.0 API implementation. The choices are easy, the work is not. Too many frameworks and programming tools lead developers down the “wrong path” toward short-term expediency using record-based CRUD APIs returing XML or JSON without hyperlinks in the message; they follow the ROT (Representation Object Transfer) principles. Instead developers and architects need to ignore the “blandishments” of slick editors and frameworks and just knuckle down some hard slogging down the “right path;” the one that leads to a stable, scalable, re-usable, and evolve-able API based on Fielding’s REST principles.

Whether you are an individual developer, a small start-up, or a large, established company, now is the time to start creating more REST and less ROT.

Photo of Mike Amundsen

Mike Amundsen

Layer 7 Technologies

An internationally known author and lecturer, Mike Amundsen travels throughout the world consulting and speaking on a wide range of topics including distributed network architecture, Web application development, and other subjects.

In his role of API architect at Layer 7, Amundsen heads up the API Architecture and Design Practice in North America. He is responsible for working with companies to provide insight on how best to capitalize on the myriad opportunities APIs present to both consumers and the enterprise.

Amundsen has authored numerous books and papers on programming over the last 15 years. His most recent book is a collaboration with Leonard Richardson titled “RESTful Web APIs”. His 2011 book, “Building Hypermedia APIs with HTML5 and Node”, is an oft-cited reference on building adaptable distributed systems.

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Comments

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Mike Amundsen
07/28/2011 8:56am PDT

Elliot:

Thanks for the feedback on the talk. I encourage you to check out the HTTP-REST-OSCON-BoF list (groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/http-rest-oscon-bof) and REST-Discuss (tech.groups.yahoo.com/group...) where you can follow up with questions and comments, too.

Elliot Shank
07/28/2011 8:40am PDT

This was really, really good. It changed what I think web service interfaces should be. The action URL idea is brilliant.