Enterprises have probably heard of REST before. Companies may even have experience with building RESTful services. But what many may not have considered is how REST can help create web and mobile applications with MultiValue data. This can play a major role in extending the value of your MultiValue enterprise application, and it highlights the versatility of the major MultiValue products on the market today.
For the uninitiated, here’s a quick summary of REST. REST (which stands for “Representational State Transfer”) is a widely-adopted design approach for building web services using HTTP. Like all web services, RESTful services provide a standard means of interoperating, via the internet, between computer systems with different software and operating systems. REST places a variety of constraints on compliant web services, such as using only HTTP(S) for service interaction. These architectural constraints result in a variety of benefits: RESTful services are lightweight, fast, and they produce human-readable results.
The key to creating MultiValue RESTful APIs is defining how HTTP requests will interact with the MultiValue server. When the client/web browser sends a request, the REST server translates that request into terms that the MultiValue system will understand. The most common approach is to have the REST server send the client the requested data in JSON format as a “dynamic array.” Although it is not necessary to use JSON for building a RESTful web service, the format is particularly well-suited to representing the multi-dimensional nature of MultiValue data.
REST isn’t the only architectural style for designing web APIs, of course. Historically, other architectural styles/protocols have been quite popular too, such as SOAP. In the past few years, however, REST has become by far the dominant approach to building web services. And accompanying REST’s rise in popularity has been mounting pressure for businesses to offer customers, as well as employees, various kinds of self-service apps. For the customer, self-service functionality could mean the ability to go online and check order information him/herself. For business personnel and internal use, creation of self-service applications is often motivated by a desire for faster customer service or the ability to run data analytics independent of IT. REST unlocks the data in your MultiValue server for use by precisely these kinds of apps.
Of course, API logic is only one aspect of the equation. There are things like user interface and user experience to consider, especially for apps designed for external use. But API logic is the essence of the informational side of the equation, and following an architectural style like REST makes determining this logic a lot simpler. And though you could go another direction, and try a different architectural style, there are a few reasons why REST is recommended for most web services, including MultiValue. First off, its popularity means that there are more resources to reference and more programmers out there with the right skills. Moreover, REST itself adheres to many of the most cherished principles in the programming community today--which helps you set yourself up for success.
Ultimately, it’s business value that organizations are most concerned with when it comes to IT. REST has a powerful value proposition for MultiValue-driven organizations: building REST services on top of your MultiValue application allows your current solution to power your modernization initiatives while also saving time and money. With REST in the mix, you can continue to reap the economic and organizational benefits of MultiValue and deliver the kinds of web/mobile applications your organization needs.