RESTing before RevCon 2016


With the Orlando Revelation User’s Conference coming up in just over four weeks from now, we continue to be quite busy getting ready for this major event. So, despite what this article title might seem to suggest, we are doing everything but taking it easy and relaxing. In point of fact, in addition to finishing up our travel plans, we are putting together our presentation for the conference. This is entitled: OpenInsight as a REST API Engine, What You Should Know.

For those who have not received or read through the conference brochure (a PDF copy can be downloaded from this link), here is the description of our presentation topic:

Virtually everyone who develops web applications has heard of REST APIs. Common questions you might ask are: Is REST just another buzzword? Should I care? How can this benefit my application or company? The short answers to these questions are: No; Yes; and, Come to this presentation and find out how REST can benefit you. In addition to explaining REST in easy to understand terms, we’ll provide a survey of the REST concept and compare it to competing strategies, explaining why REST is important and why virtually every major tech company on the internet supports REST APIs. Then we’ll provide you with the basic steps you’ll need to create your own REST API engine using OpenInsight. This presentation is a must for serious app developers who want to leverage their OpenInsight skill set with web and mobile toolkits.

The REST approach to building web APIs has become an integral part of SRP’s strategy for building flexible and robust web and mobile applications. One of our goals with this presentation is to inspire our audience to consider a RESTful approach with their own web-based projects. Here are just a few of the benefits RESTful APIs offer:

  • RESTful APIs are portable. Because the APIs are not tied to any specific UI presentation, they can work easily with web technologies (HTML5/JavaScript/CSS) or any native mobile platform (iOS, Android, Windows) without needing to be rewritten.
  • RESTful APIs are relatively simple. Due to the uniformity of RESTful URLs, there is less complexity and confusion with APIs than are typically found in alternative strategies.
  • RESTful APIs are self-navigating.  If designed properly, RESTful responses will guide an API consumer in the same way web pages guide a site visitor.
  • RESTful APIs are self-documenting. A RESTful response can provide the client information about itself and how it should be called.
  • RESTful APIs evolve safely. Changes in many APIs will typically break a client, especially when a URL has changed. RESTful APIs are designed to avoid such problems.

Another goal is to dispel what might perhaps be causes for intimidation. Working with REST is easier than some might think. In fact, there is a very good chance that your existing web services are already implementing one or more of the REST principles. We want to encourage you to continue the path toward a more RESTful design.

Our presentation will be organized around these four basic questions:

  • What is REST?
  • Why is REST important?
  • Perhaps more relevant: Why is REST important to the OpenInsight developer?
  • What must be done with OpenInsight to support REST APIs?

We know there will be many great topics at this year’s Revelation User’s Conference. Therefore, there are plenty of reasons for the Revelation community to attend. However, our hope is that you will consider our presentation worth your time and attention. Our topic is scheduled for 10:15am, Wednesday, April 20th. As always, we look forward to catching up with our friends and colleagues from around the world.

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