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5832RESTful representation of side effects?

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  • Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
    Apr 5, 2006
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      Hi all,

      I'm taking my quarterly run at trying to properly grok REST, and as
      usual have only succeeding in confusing myself. :-) Perhaps you can
      help.

      I want to provide a web service that, say, converts HTML documents
      into various formats. The naive RPC method would seem to be to
      create a special URL string for each type, e.g.:

      /convert.cgi?format=pdf&document=mydocument.html
      /convert.cgi?format=doc&document=mydocument.html
      etc.

      However, that doesn't seem very RESTful. I would imagine the RESTful
      alternative would be to:
      a) PUT the initial resource; get a URL back
      b) <do something to that URL>
      c) Return the URL describing that resource
      d) GET the final resource

      But, if so, I can't figure out the RESTful way to do (b). Is there?
      What am I missing? Or have I completely misconstrued the problem?

      -- Ernie P.
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