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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in REST

To REST or not to REST

Posted by on in CloudStack Tips

I wish I could write like Shakespeare but since I don't you are left with this blog about Representational State Transfer (REST) and specifically a discussion on whether the CloudStack API is a REST API or not. The short answer is that the CloudStack API is RESTlike but not RESTfull since it is only based on the GET method. Being an http based API that can return JSON does not make it a RESTfull API. This should not be seen as negative criticism but just a clarification.

A few words first about the CloudStack API and a few pointers. It is very extensive, from user creation, vm management to firewall configuration and more advanced networking features. Github has lots of clients written by the community and I am sure you can find your favorite language in there. The Developer Guide explains in details how to make requests. With CloudMonkey interacting with the API has become even easier. It is a terrific way to learn the API and check the required parameters of each call. Coupled with devcloud you can have a fully functional local CloudStack testbed.

To explore the API, I often also look at the GUI and see how the API calls are made. To do this, I access the UI in Firefox and launch Firebug console. I can then see the calls that I am interested in and specifically check the parameters/headers etc or the http call being made.

REST is known as an architectural style and to put it in french-english it is basically a way to design your API to create a web service that only uses the HTTP methods to manipulate the state of web resources. In my opinion it was really a response to the complexity of the SOAP based web services and the many standards that came out. REST really took off with Web 2.0 and was seen as a way to create easy to use web services. I recently found a few articles by Luis Rei and they clearly explain how to design a REST web service as well as implement on with Flask a lightweight python based web framework.

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Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world.