REST (Representational State Transfer)

REST (Representational State Transfer) is a software architectural style for distributed hypermedia systems, used in the development of Web services. Distributed file systems send and receive data via REST. Web services using REST are called RESTful APIs or REST APIs.

There are several benefits to using REST APIs: it is a uniform interface so you don’t have to know the inner workings of an application to use the interface, it’s operations are well defined and so data in different storage formats can be acted upon by the same REST APIs, and it is stateless, so each interaction does not interfere with the next. Because of these benefits, REST APIs are fast, easy to implement with, and easy to use. As a result, REST has gained wide adoption.

6 guiding principles for REST:

  1. Client–server – Separate user interface from data storage improves portability and scalability.
  2. Stateless – Each information request is wholly self contained so session state is kept entirely on the client.
  3. Cacheable – A client cache is given the right to reuse that response data for later, equivalent requests.
  4. Uniform interface – The overall REST system architecture is simplified and uniform due to the following constraints: identification of resources; manipulation of resources through representations; self-descriptive messages; and, hypermedia as the engine of application state.
  5. Layered system – The layered system is composed of hierarchical layers and
    each component cannot “see” beyond the immediate layer with which they are interacting.
  6. Code on demand (optional) – REST allows client functionality to be extended by downloading and executing code in the form of applets or scripts.

The REST architecture and lighter weight communications between producer and consumer make REST popular for use in cloud-based APIs such as those authored by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. REST is often used in social media sites, mobile applications and automated business processes.

REST provides advantages over leveraging SOAP

REST is often preferred over SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) because REST uses less bandwidth, making it preferable for use over the Internet. SOAP also requires writing or using a server program and a client program.

RESTful Web services are easily leveraged using most tools, including those that are free or inexpensive. REST is also much easier to scale than SOAP services. Thus, REST is often chosen as the architecture for services available via the Internet, such as Facebook and most public cloud providers. Also, development time is usually reduced using REST over SOAP. The downside to REST is it has no direct support for generating a client from server-side-generated metadata whereas SOAP supports this with Web Service Description Language (WSDL).

Unstructured data management software using REST APIs

Open-APIs and a REST-based architecture are the keys to Komprise integrations. Using REST APIs gives customers the greatest amount of flexibility and here are some things customers can do with the Komprise Intelligent Data Management software via its REST API:

  • Get analysis results and reports on all their data
  • Run data migrations, data archiving and data replication operations
  • Search for data across all their storage by any metadata and tags
  • Build virtual data lakes to export to AI and Big Data applications

A REST API is a very powerful, lightweight and fast way to interact with data management software. Here is an example of the Komprise API in action: Automated Data Tagging with Komprise.


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