Skip to main content

Web: REST Verbs

I find it curious that REST enthusiasts insist on viewing the world through the five verbs GET, HEAD, PUT, POST, and DELETE. It reminds me of a story:

Back in the early '80s, I worked for DARPA. During the height of the Cold War, we were really worried about being attacked by Russia. My team was charged with designing a RESTful interface to a nuclear launch site; as far as technology goes, we were way ahead of our time.

Anyway, I wanted the interface to be "PUT /bomb". However, my co-worker insisted that it should be "DELETE /russia". One of my other buddies suggested that we compromise on something more mainstream like "POST /russia/bomb".

Finally, my boss put an end to the whole fiasco. He argued that any strike against the USSR would necessarily be in retaliation to an attack from them. Hence, he suggested that it be "GET /even", so that's what we went with.

You have to understand, back then, GETs with side effects weren't yet considered harmful.

Comments

Brandon L. Golm said…
Thank you for contracting 1980s correctly.
jjinux said…
Hahaha ;)
Unknown said…
Excellent - morbid, but excellent! ;)
Kevin Dangoor said…
I think that REST would be much better if it had adverbs.

GET /secret_info QUIETLY

(retrieve the URL without logging)

DELETE / FORCEFULLY

(remove everything recursively -- no undo!)

I just don't see how people can view REST as a complete, useful protocol.

:)
Anonymous said…
"I think that REST would be much better if it had adverbs."

This made me laugh. :-)
jjinux said…
Haha, Kevin, exactly. In between the awful bloat of SOAP and the strangely religious advocates of REST, the rest of us are just trying to get our jobs done.
Anonymous said…
That's funny, but FWIW, I think you miss the point entirely. You can be RESTful just sticking to GET/POST which is what most of the web does. The question is why your design chooses to reject PUT/DELETE when they might be appropriate. You may very well have good reason, but I don't know because you don't say. I don't think I can do a better job than this blog post:

http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/2008/08/17/ExplainingRESTToDamienKatz.aspx

Beyond that, *shrug*. 90% of these REST/WS-* debates seem to consist of uninformed participants on both sides, all pretending otherwise. Just like politics.
jjinux said…
> That's funny, but FWIW, I think you miss the point entirely.

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I was railing against how religious the book "Restful Web Services" is. You say, "You can be RESTful just sticking to GET/POST which is what most of the web does", but the book seems to reject that stance, at least for as far as I've read it.
jjinux said…
> http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/2008/08/17/ExplainingRESTToDamienKatz.aspx

Thanks for the link. I was aware of 90% of that content when I wrote the post, which is to say, my joke stands ;)
Venkat said…
el-oh-el! This is hilarious.

Popular posts from this blog

Drawing Sierpinski's Triangle in Minecraft Using Python

In his keynote at PyCon, Eben Upton, the Executive Director of the Rasberry Pi Foundation, mentioned that not only has Minecraft been ported to the Rasberry Pi, but you can even control it with Python . Since four of my kids are avid Minecraft fans, I figured this might be a good time to teach them to program using Python. So I started yesterday with the goal of programming something cool for Minecraft and then showing it off at the San Francisco Python Meetup in the evening. The first problem that I faced was that I didn't have a Rasberry Pi. You can't hack Minecraft by just installing the Minecraft client. Speaking of which, I didn't have the Minecraft client installed either ;) My kids always play it on their Nexus 7s. I found an open source Minecraft server called Bukkit that "provides the means to extend the popular Minecraft multiplayer server." Then I found a plugin called RaspberryJuice that implements a subset of the Minecraft Pi modding API for B

Ubuntu 20.04 on a 2015 15" MacBook Pro

I decided to give Ubuntu 20.04 a try on my 2015 15" MacBook Pro. I didn't actually install it; I just live booted from a USB thumb drive which was enough to try out everything I wanted. In summary, it's not perfect, and issues with my camera would prevent me from switching, but given the right hardware, I think it's a really viable option. The first thing I wanted to try was what would happen if I plugged in a non-HiDPI screen given that my laptop has a HiDPI screen. Without sub-pixel scaling, whatever scale rate I picked for one screen would apply to the other. However, once I turned on sub-pixel scaling, I was able to pick different scale rates for the internal and external displays. That looked ok. I tried plugging in and unplugging multiple times, and it didn't crash. I doubt it'd work with my Thunderbolt display at work, but it worked fine for my HDMI displays at home. I even plugged it into my TV, and it stuck to the 100% scaling I picked for the othe

Creating Windows 10 Boot Media for a Lenovo Thinkpad T410 Using Only a Mac and a Linux Machine

TL;DR: Giovanni and I struggled trying to get Windows 10 installed on the Lenovo Thinkpad T410. We struggled a lot trying to create the installation media because we only had a Mac and a Linux machine to work with. Everytime we tried to boot the USB thumb drive, it just showed us a blinking cursor. At the end, we finally realized that Windows 10 wasn't supported on this laptop :-/ I've heard that it took Thomas Edison 100 tries to figure out the right material to use as a lightbulb filament. Well, I'm no Thomas Edison, but I thought it might be noteworthy to document our attempts at getting it to boot off a USB thumb drive: Download the ISO. Attempt 1: Use Etcher. Etcher says it doesn't work for Windows. Attempt 2: Use Boot Camp Assistant. It doesn't have that feature anymore. Attempt 3: Use Disk Utility on a Mac. Erase a USB thumb drive: Format: ExFAT Scheme: GUID Partition Map Mount the ISO. Copy everything from