[FoRK] overhead of RESTful stuff

Lisa Dusseault lisa at rtfm.com
Thu Mar 8 10:11:45 PST 2012

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 4:25 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> There's some enthusiasm for SOA and RESTful stuff at my dayjob lately
> (yeah, we're always trailing state of the art by a decade or two),
> so I'm worried about overhead.

The main overhead I've seen in Web API designs was from bad resource
selection (or worse, if the developers aren't doing REST, bad message
granularity choices).

The biggest theoretical savings in overhead from REST is from caching. The
fastest way to handle a request is to set it up so you don't have to handle
it at all (in the app server). But it's really very common for developers
to break cachability, often without knowing it, because hardly anybody
(compared to the population of so-called RESTful programmers) understands
HTTP caching at this level.

The next crazy thing I see is operators not even turning caching on! As
you've no doubt seen, many programmers would rather comb through code
optimizing their string concatenation (our founder did this once on a big
java codebase) than find out how to install, configure and maintain a
caching server, and show which API results can be cached.  This should be
an even more embarrassing omission now that one can outsource caching to
the cloud.


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