What Are RESTful Web Services and Why We Use?

RESTful Web Services know as REpresentational State Transfer (REST) web services and this is used to build maintainable and lightweight web services. Web service is a software that available through internet which provide the service to a another device using standardized messaging system(JSON or XML).The services that built on REST are called as RESTful services. This “What Are RESTful Web Services and Why We Use” article explain all the details about RESTful Web Services.

When we consider about what are RESTful Web Services and why we use that, REST is an architectural style for defining standards between computer systems on the web and making contact between systems easier. let’s learn in deep.

In this Tutorial You will learn,

  1. RESTful Key Elements
  2. RESTful Methods
  3. Why we use RESTful
  4. Advantages of RESTful Web Services
  5. RESTful Architecture
  6. RESTful Principles

01. RESTful Key Elements

REST Web services have really come a long way since its inception. In 2002, the Web consortium had released the definition of WSDL and SOAP web services. This formed the standard of how web services are implemented. Lets see what are the key elements.

  • Resources – Resources are identified by a URL ,so it provides the global address space and, Data and functions considered resources also. Let’s say that there are many student documents in a web application on a computer. Suppose the web application’s URL is http:/school.builditmasters.com. Now, in order to access an student record tool via REST, the http:/school.builditmasters.com/student/1 command may be provided-this command asks the web server to provide the information of the student whose number is 1.
  • Request Verbs – This explain what you want the tool to do. It indicates what are we doing to with the resources and, GET,POST,PUT,DELETE,OPTIONS,HEAD are the examples.
  • Request Headers – There are supplementary instructions included with the request. Those can specify the type of response needed, or the specifics of the authorization. This contains metadata for HTTP request and Storing as key value pairs. And also this can send Additional instruction with the request.
  • Request Body – Contains the actual message or the resource. Information shall be submitted with the request. If a POST request is made to the REST web service, the data is usually sent in the request. The client directly tells the web service, in a POST call, that it wants to add a resource to the server.
  • Response Code – Simply this Is used to indicate service status(code 200,404 etc). These codes are the general codes that are returned with the Web server response.
  • Response Header – Same as request header it contains the metadata 
  • Response Body – Contains the actual message of the response. So in our example, if we were to query the web server via the http:/school.builditmasters.com/student/get-All request, the web server might return an XML document with all the student’s information in the Response Body.

02. RESTful Methods

Following are the 4 main HTTP methods commonly used in REST architecture

  • POST – Used in cresting new resources
  • GET – Provide read only access for resources
  • PUT – Used to update an existing resource or to create a new resource
  • DELETE – Used to remove resources

Lets get an example. http:/school.builditmasters.com/student is the web services and the client want to handle student services. So we can use,

  • POST – to create a new student using the RESTful web service.
  • GET – to get a list of all student using the RESTful web service
  • PUT – to update all student using the RESTful web service
  • DELETE – to delete all student using the RESTful services

03. Why we use RESTful

RESTful Web Services are fast because there is no strict specification like SOAP. It consumes less bandwidth and resource. Everything is moving to the cloud. Applications are slowly moving to cloud-based systems such as in Azure or Amazon. Azure and Amazon provide a lot of API’s based on the Restful architecture. So since all Cloud-based architectures work on the REST principle, it makes more sense for web services to be programmed on the REST services based architecture to make the best use of Cloud-based services.

04. Advantages of RESTful Web Services

  • RESTful Web Services are fast because there is no strict specification like SOAP. It consumes less bandwidth and resource.
  • Language and Platform independent
  • Can use SOAP: RESTful web services can use SOAP web services as the implementation.
  • Permits different data format: RESTful web service permits different data format such as Plain Text, HTML, XML and JSON.
  • The event of Devices
  • Finally is the event of the Cloud

05. What is REST Architecture ?

REST is architecture based on network standards and uses HTTP Protocol. It revolves around resource where every variable is a resource, and a resource is accessed using standard HTTP methods via a specific interface.

A REST server simply provides access to resources in the REST system, and REST client accesses and modifies the resources. Here the URIs / global IDs classify each resource. This is Language and Platform independent. It means RESTful web services can be written in any programming language and executed in any platform. As I mentioned above REST is an architectural style not a protocol. REST uses various formats to represent a resource such as text, JSON, XML. The most common of these is JSON.

06. RESTful Principles

The architecture of the REST is based on a few features, which are elaborated below. Every RESTful web service must follow the criteria below to be called RESTful.

  • RESTful Client Server – That is the most fundamental prerequisite for an architecture based on REST. It means the server would have a RESTful web service which would provide the client with the required functionality. The client sends a message to server web service. The server will either deny or comply with the request, and provide the client with an appropriate response.
  • Stateless – This is necessary for server to be able to properly process the response. The server should not hold any kind of information between client requests. The client asks a question, and the server correctly responds. The customer poses another question. The server does not recall the previous question-answer situation, and will have to independently answer the new question.
  • Cache – The request from the client will go to the server, and the server will have a response. That improves network-wide traffic. It’s a term implemented on the client to store requests that were sent to the server already. But if the client gives the same request, instead of going to the server, it will go to the cache and get the information it needs. This saves the network traffic cause from client to server.
  • Layered System – The concept of a layered system is that any additional layer such as a middleware layer can be inserted between the client and the actual server hosting the RESTFul web service
  • Interface/Uniform Contract – This is the technique underlying how RESTful web services will work. RESTful essentially operates on the Network layer of HTTP and uses the main verbs described above as GET, POST, DELETE, PUT.

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