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Harness the Power of the Web for Programmable Applications: O'Reilly Releases RESTful Web Services

May 18, 2007

Sebastopol, CA--"A lot of people, even people who traditionally weren't interested in web service, are becoming interested in RESTful ways of doing things," reports Leonard Richardson, coauthor with Sam Ruby of the new book, RESTful Web Services (O'Reilly, US $39.99). "The latest version of Ruby on Rails was completely remodeled around RESTful principles. JSR 311 is bringing RESTful principles to Java's server side. Every time you turn around there's a new startup that offers a cool RESTful web service."

For those who want to join the RESTful fray but aren't sure how to do it, RESTful Web Services presents the principles of connecting to the programmable web with technologies you already use every day. The key is REST, the architectural style that drives the web. And while there's a great deal of talk about REST, Richardson notes that there's a huge gap in documentation for REST as applied to web services: "The end result of the gap is poorly designed web services, and I wanted to try to put a stop to that."

As Richardson explains, "The Fielding thesis defines REST as an architectural style--a way of judging architectures. The definition of REST never mentions web services, and it barely mentions HTTP. It's very abstract. But a real web service uses HTTP, and it has to have a specific architecture. That's where the gap is. You can poke around on the web and find lots of disconnected best practices, but I think those practices really ought to be organized into a concrete architecture (or a few competing architectures) that follows the REST architectural style.

"Right now, everyone's making up ad hoc architectures according to their own understanding of REST. Or, they're giving up on REST, dismissing it as immature or sloppy, and going with RPC-style architectures instead," Richardson continues. "I wrote this book to move the starting point forward. You don't have to start from the REST architectural style anymore. You can start from our Resource-Oriented Architecture, and architecture specifically geared towards web services, and based on how well-designed services have worked in the past."

RESTful Web Services is the first book that applies the REST design philosophy to real web services. The book:

  • Emphasizes the power of basic web technologies--the HTTP application protocol, the URI naming standard, and the XML markup language
  • Introduces the Resource-Oriented Architecture (ROA), a commonsense set of rules for designing web services
  • Reveals how a RESTful design is simpler, more versatile, and more scalable than a design based on Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs)
  • Discusses web service clients for popular programming languages
  • Demonstrates how to implement RESTful services in three popular frameworks--Ruby on Rails, Restlet (for Java), and Django (for Python)
  • Focuses on practical issues, such as how to design and implement RESTful web services and clients

"Every developer working with the Web needs to read this book." --David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of the Rails framework

Additional Resources:

More information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic

RESTful Web Services
Leonard Richardson and Sam Ruby
ISBN: 0-596-52926-0, 419 pages, Print: $39.99 US, $51.99 CA
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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