ASI is Enjoying Some REST

A RESTful API is an application program interface that uses HTTP requests to GET (retrieve), PUT (update), POST (create) and DELETE (uh, delete) data.


One of the guiding principles of REST is the separation of client and server. By separating the user interface concerns from the data storage concerns, we improve the portability of the user interface across multiple platforms and improve scalability by simplifying the server components. This also allows each to be coded in any language and improved upon separately.


The key abstraction of information in REST is a resource. Any information that can be named can be a resource: a document or image, a collection of other resources, a non-virtual object (e.g. a person), and so on. REST uses a resource identifier to identify the particular resource involved in an interaction between components. The state of resource at any particular timestamp is known as resource representation. A representation consists of data, metadata describing the data, and hypermedia links which can help the clients in transition to next desired state.


The data format of a representation is known as a media type. The media type identifies a specification that defines how a representation is to be processed. A truly RESTful API looks like hypertext. Every addressable unit of information carries an address, either explicitly (e.g., link and id attributes) or implicitly (e.g., derived from the media type definition and representation structure).


REST APIs typically use JSON and/or XML file formats to transfer data. Both formats are human-readable and machine-readable. Because REST APIs use HTTP, they can be used by practically any programming language.


REST technology is generally preferred to the more robust Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) technology because REST leverages less bandwidth, making it more suitable for internet usage. With cloud use on the rise, APIs are emerging to expose web services. REST is a logical choice for building APIs that allow users to connect and interact with cloud services. ASI is currently taking advantage of REST APIs, such as the ones provided by iManage and NetDocuments, to help our clients migrate to and operate in the cloud.


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John fell in love with programming back in the years of AOL chatrooms and has been developing professionally since 2002, coding mostly in VB and VBA. Since joining Adaptive in 2008, he has gained experience with the WorkSite API, app development, and many other technologies. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family, being outdoors, running, and playing almost any sport.

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