Guide: When and how to use REST

Last updated:June 2013

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Editor's note

Representational state transfer (REST) is a stateless software architecture that reads webpages containing XML. REST, which some architects view as a simpler alternative to Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services Description Language Web services, has become a popular Web application program interface (API) model over the years. A RESTful API, or RESTful Web service, uses both HTTP and REST.

This REST guide brings together a range of stories that highlight when it's best to implement REST, especially in comparison with SOAP and with an API.

1Relationship between REST and APIs

Mobile and cloud applications, social networking websites, and automated business processes are among the drivers fueling the need for RESTful APIs. Application architects can find themselves with a good headache if they don't completely understand the technology.

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