What is a RESTful decision support application?
by Daniel J. Power
A specific decision support vision and a well-defined architecture for a new application provides a direction for making design decisions. As technologies evolve computing and decision support architectures change and evolve, but new patterns are not common (cf., Power, 2007). Service oriented and message-based implementations of decision support systems (cf., Natis, 2003) are still not common. The REST/AJAX architectural style is an evolving set of standards for web-based and now smart phone applications. The four traditional DSS architectures, bridge, network, sandwich and tower identified by Sprague and Carlson (1982) continue to provide high-level design direction, but more architectural detail is desirable. REST is an architectural style. A RESTful DSS uses a REST architecture.
Commentators disagree about the definition of REST and about its advantages and disadvantages. In general, it seems REST creates more structure for coding web-based decision support applications. The Web API is easier to understand and use and the response of pages is faster. REST is better for decision support than for transaction processing applications. Some observers feel the development of Web services is faster with a REST architecture. A post at coderanch.com argues "RESTful web services are typically stateless and therefore easily scalable." REST is often viewed as an alternative to Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). These protocols are difficult to assess for a decision support developer. Additional research and a review of development environments seems very desirable.
MacVittie, L. "REST (Representational State Transfer)," Network Computing, September 28, 2006 at URL http://www.networkcomputing.com/other/rest-representational-state-transfer/229611129 .
Natis, Y. V., "Service-Oriented Architecture Scenario," Gartner, April 16, 2003, URL http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=114358 .
Power, D. J. "What are common DSS architectural patterns or styles?" DSS News, Vol. 8, No. 20, October 7, 2007.
Sprague, R.H. and E.D. Carlson. Building Effective Decision Support Systems. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1982.
W3Schools, "AJAX Tutorial," http://www.w3schools.com/ajax/default.asp
Wikipedia -- the free encyclopedia, "REST" at URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REST
Wikipedia -- the free encyclopedia, "SOAP" at URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOAP
Last update: 2014-01-19 07:24
Author: Daniel Power
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