Representational State Transfer

From OSGeo
Revision as of 23:58, 3 February 2008 by Neteler (talk | contribs) (+cat)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Representational State Transfer is also known as REST and RESTful.

There is an ongoing discussion in the standards world whether to adopt SOAP as the unique interoperable binding. Because this decision might be detrimental to RESTful design approaches the discussion sometimes turns into a fight between SOAP or REST as if the two could be compared. But they cannot as one is a technology and the other a design approach. It is possible to implement RESTful services using SOAP bindings and the current version of the WSDL standard has explicitly been modified to allow for RESTful implementations.


From Wikipedia:

Representational State Transfer (REST) is a style of software architecture for distributed hypermedia systems such as the World Wide Web. The term was introduced in the doctoral dissertation in 2000 by Roy Fielding,[1], one of the principal authors of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) specification, and has come into widespread use in the networking community.

REST strictly refers to a collection of network architecture principles that outline how resources are defined and addressed. The term is often used in a looser sense to describe any simple interface that transmits domain-specific data over HTTP without an additional messaging layer such as SOAP or session tracking via HTTP cookies. These two meanings can conflict as well as overlap.

Further Reading

Leonard Richardson, Sam Ruby: RESTful Web Services, Sebastopol, 2007

  • ISBN 10: 0-596-52926-0
  • ISBN 13: 9780596529260

Excellent introduction to the RESTful architecture. Must-read for web mapping developers.

Commentary by OSGeo members:

Testing and Experimenting

FeatureServer with OpenLayers by MetaCarta


The Mapbender project was urged by some customers to look into implementing SOAP bindings for OGC standards because some industries communicated that this is the only way to implement security required for Digital Restrictions Management for geodata. During the developer meeting in May 2007 it was discussed that this can be done once there is funding available and that the project should also look into RESTful approaches. Further information of any results will be made available on the project pages: