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RESTful Web APIs

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The popularity of REST in recent years has led to tremendous growth in almost-RESTful APIs that don’t include many of the architecture’s benefits. With this practical guide, you’ll learn what it takes to design usable REST APIs that evolve over time. By focusing on solutions that cross a variety of domains, this book shows you how to create powerful and secure applications ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published September 27th 2013 by O'Reilly Media (first published January 1st 2013)
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Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(4.0) I learned from this things I shouldn't've needed to learn from this

Distilling to a single point: don't just do REST; adopt existing standards, naming conventions and machine readable methods of imbuing your API responses with meaning, full hypermedia. They point to lots of places to find existing standards to piggy-back on, including their own (e.g. ALPS).

It also goes into a fair amount of detail in protocols of little interest to me but introduces a good methodology for designing truly RE
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: computer-science
The author wants to convince the web API designer that the choice of media-types with hypermedia support as well as the adoption of standardized semantics (standard link relations, standard semantic descriptors and respect for HTTP protocol semantics) enables extensibility for web APIs and avoids unnecessary duplication of efforts.

After reading the book, I am convinced that standardization really pays off. The point made in the chapter about CoAP sums up the situation (although the chapter empha
Vedran Novoselac
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: dev-read
When I added this book to my reading queue, my intention was to learn about hypermedia and how to use that knowledge in my day-to-day work. I must admit that this book raised more questions than it answered.

I mean... Hypermedia is a mess. There are so many ways to do the same thing (semantic-wise) but with different and often unclear long-term consequences. And this book made me no wiser. I believe that duplex format would made this book of much more value, narratives outlining the big picture,
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer
From page 237:

Think of the World Wide Web (and of any other RESTful API) as a technology stack. URLs are on the bottom; they identify resources. The HTTP protocol sits on top of those resources, providing read access to their representations and write access to the underlying resource state. Hypermedia sits on top of HTTP, describing the protocol semantics of one particular website or API.

The bottom layer answers the question “Where is the resource?” The middle layer an‐ swers the question “How
Dzmitry Kishylau
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book is not entirely useless - there are several interesting and non-trivial observations about semantics of HTTP protocol, and really nice reference about HTTP status codes (in appendix). However, the truth is that there's simply not much authors (or anyone else) can say on the subject - clearly not enough for 300+ page book. So they water down, and water down again, and the result is rather disappointing read. ...more
Chris Sullins
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design, programming
Solid book. The most important parts seem to be the API design procedure (Chapter 9), and Appendix C, a discussion of Roy Fielding's PhD dissertation that identified the concept of Representation State Transfer (REST). ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: programming
Started out strong, but falls apart and becomes impractical.
Jahongir Rahmonov
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Not necessarily something that I would expect from a book with this title. Got bored.
Nov 09, 2018 marked it as to-keep-reference
If you’re looking to build APIs instead of just using them, or if you want to learn more about the theory of their construction and syntax, I recommend RESTful Web APIs by Leonard Richardson, Mike Amundsen, and Sam Ruby (O’Reilly). This book provides a strong overview of the theory and practice of using APIs on the web.

Web Scraping with Python Pág.190
Hesham Amin
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: technical
The book takes the reader to the next step to designing REST APIs after following HTTP semantics. It shows how difficult it is to bridge the semantic gap in web APIs. However following even a subset of the guidelines mentioned in this book will make you're API easier to consume, although not as easy to change as you'd hope.
I believe appendix C (An API Designer's guide to the Fielding Dissertation) should have come earlier in the book.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Complete guide to design RESTful Web APIs
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computers
Good review of http protocol
Cody Ray
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an awesome book, and a great summary of what I had spent the past couple of weeks reading (which was a smattering of specifications) trying to figure out how it all fits together. He laid out some good models (fiat standards, personal standards, corporate standards, open standards) as well as . The best bit was how it talked about the semantic gap and how "profiles" like AMPS fit into everything.

~I think the huge missing gap (in this book and/or in my knowledge) is how to actually progr
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming, web
Everyone has certainly heard the term RESTful, and possibly used it many times, but probably very few people know what it is and how a good, usable RESTful API should be written. Having definitely won its war with SOAP—well, they are used in different contexts, the popularity of RESTful APIs exponentially increased throughout the latest years. RESTful Web APIs makes it easy for everyone to understand the pros and cons of this technology and teacher the reader the importance of standards, and how ...more
Keith Christoffers
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Richard Magahiz
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: web developers
This book positions itself to be the basic reference for developers who are designing distributed computing systems that use the dominant pattern of REST (Representational State Transfer). The authors describe how most API standardization still centers around human readable documentation of fiat standards instead of machine readable formats which have been around for some time now, and the benefits of moving to a more machine-centered approach. The problem of upgrading an API can be solved at th ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book serves as a sort of sequel to the O'Reilly classic "RESTful Web Services" published back in 2007 (by Richardson and Ruby). Most conventional web APIs today do not fully embrace hypermedia - a key feature of the web that has made it so attractive to humans when organizing information online. Instead, most APIs today embrace most of the REST principles (data organized as resources, uniform interface, addressability, safety, idempotence, etc.) but rely on out-of-band documentation (for hu ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I made myself get through this book because I want to know about this subject. I don't hear the term Hypermedia a lot at my job even though we do web services, and I have heard the term "RESTful" and "idempotent" a couple of times. I have a feeling many people use the term REST without really knowing what that term means. Or, just understanding one aspect of REST. This book goes into great detail about the philosophy of REST services, but does not prescribe any technology to implement it. This b ...more
Laurent le Beau-Martin
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book should be mandatory reading for all developers that build or simply use Web APIs.
It aims to help API designers build better, future-proof systems, using hypermedia. This is not a simple task, so it doesn't have all the answers. REST might have won the philosophical debate against SOAP and others like it, but there is still a lot to do to have real RESTful APIs. The book points out very well the shortcomings of current design practices and explains why leaning towards a more hypermedia-
Francois D’Agostini
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
The way the book is written and the examples it provides was way too abstract for me.
Besides, it really seems that hypermedia APIs are not so much used in the real world. That is why most of the examples of the book are really hypothetical and cannot be applied on the current apis available on the Web.

The problem is that outside of what Hypermedia is about, I have the feeling I did not learn much more thant that, even though the book is quite big.

Anyway, maybe I am not yet ready to digest such
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Definitely some interesting ideas that are well explained but I felt that a key purpose of the book was to promote the author's collection structure as a "standard". I'm not sure that this collection really simplifies usage as much as he proclaims because an API consumer still needs semantic knowledge to process results. However, having a standard approach for a specific API is definitely a good thing. ...more
Sulava Singha
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is good for those who are designing new RESTful web APIs and want to get an overview of what it takes to design usable APIs. A great overview on hypermedia , semantic challenges and what it takes to design your own templates. Examples are mostly based on collection+json. This book provides you a meaningful subject knowledge on creating secure application, creating for search or pagination.
Steven Cummings
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is pretty much the book for the current state of web service design. It clarifies why the principles matter and answers the questions you may have not even thought to ask based on the authors' deep experience with the web platform.

This isn't the best day to day guide, but it is the best rundown of the star of the art.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I liked many thought-provoking design examples in different hypermedia and non-hypermedia formats. Authors emphasize contrasts between generic and domain-specific formats and show possible ways on how to choose what you need. The "Seven-Step Design Procedure" is a particularly good exercise. ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
An excellent conceptual guide to RESTful APIs. Explains REST in details and also discusses the various REST standards such as JSON, XML and AtomPub in detail. The examples however could be more practical.
Tobias Macey
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent view of how to structure web APIs so that they are flexible, maintainable and usable. A definite must-read for anyone who works with the web.
Warren Parad
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Much better than the cookbook, a must read for Web API development.
Erfan Besharat
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good resource for learning about RESTful API's. ...more
Marco Pavan
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology-it
If more API designer had read this book, the world of IT integration would be a much better and easier place where to live.
rated it liked it
Sep 06, 2015
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Leonard Richardson is an expert on RESTful API design, the developer of the popular Python library Beautiful Soup, and a science fiction novelist.

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“The term “statelessness” is getting at the fact that the server doesn’t care what state the client is in.” 2 likes
“thinking of API design as resource design is a very effective way to avoid thinking about hypermedia.” 1 likes
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