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Future of RESTful API for Developers

By CIOReview | Thursday, October 19, 2017

REST is one of the most prominent implementations of SOA that has evolved from the Internet's "resource" view of components.

Difference between Stateful and Stateless Components

Networked components in Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) are considered as modules. SOAP is used in making procedures or classes run remotely, allowing developers to find procedures and bind for code execution. REST empowers system components to represent a resource that has asked for accesses—whose implementation details are truly black box. With SOAP, one cannot presume that the remote components are stateless. Unlike REST, the same applies for local procedures, where one can presume that all calls are stateless.

This useful property of REST has made it extremely valuable and useful in cloud applications as it allows stateless components to be freely deployed in case of some unexpected failure by scaling to accommodate load changes. The main reason behind this is in its ability to redirect any request to any instance of a component. SOAP can also be built I such a way but it is not mandatory.

This is one the main reasons why REST is preferred for web use, but the RESTful model is also applicable for cloud services. The process of binding APIs to a service is a technique of controlling the process of decoding an URL. When the application gets acquainted to a component or a microservice through an URL and if the original component instance fails, the request can be redirected to any new instance just by changing the IP address associated with that URL. In such cases, directory management is not required. Simple algorithms can have the ability to distribute work by pointing the URL to a load balancer.

Empowered by cloud and microservices

As microservices and cloud computing are streamlining RESTful API design as the future, it is important for developers and architects to address state control consistency in their applications, manage security with looser component coupling, and create effective service directories.

Managing the state of REST can be done in two ways—passing state to the RESTful call service, and having the state maintained by a back-end database. Taking a consistent approach is critical if the end goal is to get compliant RESTful applications like the SOAP-based applications. Unless the access to a back-end state database is not possible, back-end state management is the best option for such applications. If the client instance fails, client-side state control can cause problems throughout the organization.

Security Implementation

REST implementation contains a large amount of security issues. Most of REST users often presume that the REST components of any application are sourced from VPN or open Internet. In order to assure REST security, organizations must establish a private RFC 1918 address space where the components can be deployed. In some cases, some applications may require a broader integration among components. Organizations must use a secure connection such as a HTTPS connection.

Although there are many REST directory services such as ProgrammableWeb, they mainly focus on publicly exposed API. RESTful APIs are in a middle of a debate within the Internet community, and practically, most companies will require a private API directory for accessing the RESTful APIs. If not, it will result in compromising company data and compliance requirements.

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