In a previous article we touched on the two prominent web services standards as we expanded our understanding of APIs. Volumes of books have been written on both SOAP and REST as the subject is rather extensive but in this article we will focus on a high level overview of both.
This article is part of the ‘Essentials’ series and focuses on the ground-level understanding required to undertake the journey in to the world of APIs and will through the course of the series build upon your skills and introduce you to core concepts. This series is intended for people who wish to gain a rudimentary understanding of APIs such as students, new software developers and managers wishing to gain understanding and experience within their team.
For software developers the 90’s were exciting times. Microsoft had evolved their Windows operating system to a level where it was comfortable to work with and was extensively deployed in business of all sizes. Their ‘Windows Server’ edition played a pivotal role in the operation of such businesses and many prominent applications from vendors across the globe supported business in its daily quest for productivity and profit.
But there was a looming threat. Any software developer worth their salt could sense that there was a technology shift in the industry. If you worked in a software development department of any kind you would have been used to ‘architected’ (really just pie-in-the-sky requirements) solutions coming through to you but it would usually specify the software target, usually a variant of Windows.
One day, instead of the usual checkboxes being ticked, someone scrawled a hand-written ‘web’ on the form. How does one target the ‘web’, the whole Internet and every single thing using it? This is 1994 and there are limitations to possibilities.
But it is one thing to design an application to make use of the thousands of events per second generated on an operating system and it’s a completely different thing to design an application for the relatively benign world-wide web of 1994.
Next Up: Data Challenges