AWS Official Blog

AWS and the REST of the Web

by Jeff Barr | on | in Web Services News |

Welcome to the inaugural UK AWS blog post,

In todays post I thought I would talk about the internet, where we think we are going, and how Amazon web services fit in. As ever (with these thoughts), feel free to link to them in your own blogs.

The internet is a kaleidoscope of ideas, it was designed to be always available and through HTTP (the World Wide Web) it is easy to use. These are very powerful features that combine to create a rich environment that can change and even reinvent itself at the speed of thought.

This is what is happening now, after many years of growth HTTP seemed to have met its zenith as the protocol that allowed the distribution of web pages (showing its ability to scale and ease of use).  Not anymore now that same ease of use is allowing HTTP to take the internet into its next evolution, which many people are calling “web 2.0.”

HTTP is a simple to understand protocol consisting of a few verbs and a stunning range of nouns (URIs, the official term for the URLs or web site names you use).

We use HTTP all the time and its become such a part of our lives that we rarely think about it or show surprise when our 6 year old kid knows how to get to the Disney website.

But this simplicity belies a great power: every time you type a URL into your browser you are receiving information back from a machine, along with some indication as to the state of the resource at the end of the URL on that distant machine. For example, every time you type www.amazon.com you receive the latest page from Amazon.com. The page you receive is a representation of the state of that distant server and its appearance in your browser means that state has been transferred to you.

In essence, this is the native programming model of the web, and it works, its scalable and so easy to use, it holds few fears and this is all that REST is. REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer and its a programming model that uses the verbs of HTTP along with the nouns (the URIs) to gain information on the state of a service on a distant machine, but its simple basically if you can type a URL you can use REST. 

Want to find out more about REST at Amazon.com, follow this URL

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aws/sdk/main.html/102-7373758-0448103?s=AWSEcommerceService&v=2005-03-23&p=TourOfEcs

REST is so useful even cool search engines such as www.a9.com use REST as a method to standardize their searches check out the open search at http://opensearch.a9.com/

Next week Ill talk about the connection between Web Services and REST.

Don