What We Need is More REST and Less ROT

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.

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Mike Amundsen

Amundsen.com, Inc.

An internationally known author and speaker, Mike Amundsen travels the world consulting and talking about network architecture, web development, and the intersection of technology and society. He works with companies large and small to help them capitalize on the opportunities APIs and microservices present for both consumers and the enterprise. Mike has authored numerous books and papers. He contributed to the O’Reilly Media book Continuous API Management (2018). His RESTful Web Clients was published by O’Reilly in February 2017, and he coauthored Microservice Architecture (June 2016). His 2013 collaboration with Leonard Richardson RESTful Web APIs and his 2011 book, Building Hypermedia APIs with HTML5 and Node, are common references for building adaptable web applications. His latest book Design and Build Great APIs for Pragmatic Publishing is scheduled for release in early 2019.

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Mike Amundsen
07/28/2011 1:56am PDT


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 1:40am PDT

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