RESTful Web Services - Addressing


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Addressing refers to locating a resource or multiple resources lying on the server. It is analogous to locate a postal address of a person.

Each resource in REST architecture is identified by its URI (Uniform Resource Identifier). A URI is of the following format −

<protocol>://<service-name>/<ResourceType>/<ResourceID>

Purpose of an URI is to locate a resource(s) on the server hosting the web service. Another important attribute of a request is VERB which identifies the operation to be performed on the resource. For example, in RESTful Web Services - First Application chapter, the URI is http://localhost:8080/UserManagement/rest/UserService/users and the VERB is GET.

Constructing a Standard URI

The following are important points to be considered while designing a URI −

  • Use Plural Noun − Use plural noun to define resources. For example, we've used users to identify users as a resource.

  • Avoid using spaces − Use underscore (_) or hyphen (-) when using a long resource name. For example, use authorized_users instead of authorized%20users.

  • Use lowercase letters − Although URI is case-insensitive, it is a good practice to keep the url in lower case letters only.

  • Maintain Backward Compatibility − As Web Service is a public service, a URI once made public should always be available. In case, URI gets updated, redirect the older URI to a new URI using the HTTP Status code, 300.

  • Use HTTP Verb − Always use HTTP Verb like GET, PUT and DELETE to do the operations on the resource. It is not good to use operations name in the URI.

Example

Following is an example of a poor URI to fetch a user.

http://localhost:8080/UserManagement/rest/UserService/getUser/1 

Following is an example of a good URI to fetch a user.

http://localhost:8080/UserManagement/rest/UserService/users/1


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