Author: Subbu Allamaraju
Publisher: Yahoo Press, 2010
Aimed at: Intermediate - already familiar with REST
Pros: Recipes clarifies abstract ideas
Cons:Approach will not help newcomer to REST
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
This is a good book but it has a problem that you need to know about before you consider buying it.
If you think that REST is just using URLs as verbs to get the server to do things then you probably aren't going to get much from this book. The point is that REST is a philosophy of how things should be done and it has jargon words like idempotence and visibility. This is a cookbook that doesn't so much present you with recipes as drip feed you the theory of REST by asking questions. If you have a vague idea what REST is all about then this might work for you. If you have no idea what REST is all about then forget trying to read this book because it well seem like complete nonsense to you. In fact you are even going to find it hard to follow what the chapters are about.
Chapter 1 is called "Using the Uniform Interface" which is essentially a primer on using URLs to model the operations your application needs. Chapter 2 moves on to identifying resources which is something you might think simple - not so if you are going to stay within the philosophy. Chapter 3 is about designing representations, then on to designing URLs and Web linking. From here the book moves on to consider wider issues - Chapter 6 is about Atom and AtomPub, then content negotiation, queries, web caching, conditional requests and miscellaneous writes. Chapter 12 is on security, 13 on extensibility and versioning and the book closes with a look at documentation and discovery.
As a cookbook it asks contrived questions as a way of walking you though the REST philosophy rather than any real pressing need to solve practical problems. If you have encountered the ideas in REST then this is a good book to read to see how they translate into the real world - the recipes are like mini-case studies on how to do tiny fragments of the whole.
Recommended but only if you already know the theory of REST and want to see how it works in a set of cookbook recipes.