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Because REST is stateless, it has to have a way to represent state. That is the purpose of hypermedia, to act as the engine of state for the application.
One of the main benefits of using REST to build APIs is that we can use existing web standards like URI and HTTP. We don’t have to reinvent a way to identify things (URI) or how to pass messages between the client and server (HTTP). REST is an architectural style that describes the web.
REST can be seen as a post hoc description of the features of the World Wide Web. The internet includes all connected networks. The World Wide Web is the part of internet that uses the HTTP protocol. REST relies on the following standards:
- XML/HTML/GIF/JPEG: resource representations
- text/html, text/xml, image/gif, image/jpeg: content types
REST rationale: if the web is good enough for humans, it is good enough for machine-to-machine (M2M) interaction. The concepts behind RPC-WS (SOAP, XML-RPC) are different. RPC-WS make very little use of WWW-concepts and technologies. Such WS define an XML-based interface consisting of operations that run on top of HTTP or some other transport protocol. However, the features and capabilities of HTTP are not exploited.
The motivation for REST was to create an architectural model for web services that uses the same principles that made the WWW such a success.
The goal for REST is to achieve the same scalability and simplicity.
Poorly designed APIs use human-readable documentation to explain which HTTP requests a client can make https://restapilinks.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/RESTful_Web_APIs.pdf (p.40)