What REST is really about…

REST is really about just one thing: making your resources available in a way that everyone nows how to get to them, change them, and remove them. What does that mean? Well, this is what REST is really about:

66.249.66.20 - - [07/Oct/2007:07:34:06 -0500] “GET /mapping/wpserverdemo/featureserver/featureserver.cgi/scribble/67.html HTTP/1.1″ 200 658 “-” “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)”
72.14.199.40 - - [07/Oct/2007:07:36:43 -0400] “GET /atompub/featureserver/featureserver.cgi/scribble/726.atom HTTP/1.1″ 200 1182 “-” “Feedfetcher-Google; (+http://www.google.com/feedfetcher.html; 1 subscribers; feed-id=14743344383889883903)” “-”

Google has been slowly crawling through the wpserverdemo HTML pages overnight, and several people have subscribed to the feed or individual features from the AtomPub demo I put together under MetaCarta Labs.

Addressability. Linkability. Shareability. All these things are what the principles of REST are attempting to bring about. Making it so that the things that have worked so well for the web can work for you — things like Google searching, things like syndication, things like web browsers. They’ve worked well for lots of things over the years, and if you’re working on the web, you should consider how to take advantage of that.

One Response to “What REST is really about…”

  1. Tim Caro-Bruce Says:

    Hear, hear. At the GeoData BOF at FOSS4G2007, discussion centered around how to build a public geo data repository using the resources available to OSGeo.

    Many of the requirements for such a system started to sound like solved problems: identifiers describing where data could be found (some sort of Uniform Resource Locator, perhaps?), distributed storage (like 10 million webservers?), and lastly, a Google-esque search over the data. What if the Google for geographic data is…The Google?

    It’s understandable and necessary that old school GIS types get worked up about arcane projections and metadata specifications and so on. But geo data isn’t all that special — as you say, what works well for the web will work for geo too.

    One concern with having Google index the web’s geo data is that they will never make their index available. That’s true, but perhaps there’s the real opportunity for an OSGeo-backed initiative: a geo-centric crawling effort with a publicly accessible index.

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