Creating a REST service using ASP.NET Web API

A service that is created based upon the architecture of REST is called as REST service. Although REST looks more inclined to web and HTTP its principles can be applied to other distributed communication systems also. One of the real implementation of REST architecture is the World Wide Web (WWW). REST based services are easy to create and can be consumed from a wide variety of devices.

There are many APIs available in different languages to create and consume REST services. The ASP.NET MVC beta 4 comes with a new API called ASP.NET Web API to create and consume REST services. While creating REST services it is important to follow the rules and standards of the protocol (HTTP). Without knowing the principles of REST it is easy to create a service that looks RESTful but they are ultimately an RPC style service or a SOAP-REST hybrid service. In this article we are going to see how to create a simple REST service using the ASP.NET Web API.

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Using HTTP Methods in REST

REST is the acronym of Representational State Transfer that represents a set of principles for creating distributed applications in web. It was first introduced and defined by Roy Fielding in the year 2000. Unlike the traditional RPC-style SOAP services that uses HTTP just as a transport layer, REST uses all the advantages of the HTTP like request verbs, URI, media-types, caching, security etc. Since REST services works like a normal website they are easy to create and consume compared to the RPC-style web services. Some of the famous REST services on the web are Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), Sun Microsystem’s Cloud service, Atom Publishing Protocol etc.

In this article we will see about what are HTTP request methods and how we should use them for REST services.

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