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Presentation: REST: A Pragmatic Introduction to the Web's Architecture

In this presentation recorded during QCon London 2008, Stefan Tilkov introduces the audience to REST seen as an architectural style. He thinks that REST is not an alternative to SOA but it can serve SOA to reach its goals. Stefan also covers other related topics: HTTP, WS-*, SOAP, CORBA, RPC, enterprise, in an attempt to make the listeners understand what REST is and what is not and how it helps.

Watch: REST: A Pragmatic Introduction to the Web's Architecture (1h)

Stefan offers three SOA definitions:

  • An approach to business/IT alignment
  • A technical architecture
  • The architecture binding web services

Stefan continues with three definitions of REST:

  • An architectural style - the correct and complete definition as given by Roy Fielding
  • The web used correctly – using HTTP in a REST-ful way
  • XML without SOAP – XML transferring without the SOAP envelope. This should be avoided as REST definition.

Following, Stefan takes the second definition, REST-ful HTTP, and explains it:

  • Every resource should have an ID
  • Link resources through their IDs
  • Make use of standard methods to transfer resources: GET, PUT, POST, DELETE
  • A resource identified by its ID should be allowed to have multiple representations
  • Stateless communication

Stefan continues by explaining how to design a good RESTful application and gives a simple example using pseudo-code. He also presents some of the features and advantages HTTP has, and talks about HTTP, REST, SOA, WS-*, Internet, enterprise for the rest of the session which is concluded by Stefan taking questions from the audience.

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