What's the difference between REST & RESTful


What's the difference between a REST system and a system that is RESTful?

From a few things I've read most so called REST services are actually RESTful services. So what is the difference between the two.

4/19/2010 2:12:41 PM

Accepted Answer

Representational state transfer (REST) is a style of software architecture. As described in a dissertation by Roy Fielding, REST is an "architectural style" that basically exploits the existing technology and protocols of the Web.

RESTful is typically used to refer to web services implementing such an architecture.

10/15/2009 2:37:19 AM

REST based Services/Architecture vs. RESTFUL Services/Architecture

To differentiate or compare these 2, you should know what REST is.

REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is basically an architectural style of development having some principles:

  • It should be stateless

  • It should access all the resources from the server using only URI

  • It does not have inbuilt encryption

  • It does not have session

  • It uses one and only one protocol - HTTP

  • For performing CRUD operations, it should use HTTP verbs such as get, post, put and delete

  • It should return the result only in the form of JSON or XML, atom, OData etc. (lightweight data )

REST based services follow some of the above principles and not all

RESTFUL services means it follows all the above principles.

It is similar to the concept of:

Object oriented languages support all the OOP concepts, examples: C++, C#

Object-based languages support some of the OOP features, examples: JavaScript, VB


ASP Dot NET MVC 4 is REST-Based while Microsoft WEB API is RESTFul.

MVC supports only some of the above REST principles whereas WEB API supports all the above REST Principles.

MVC only supports the following from the REST API

  • We can access the resource using URI

  • It supports the HTTP verb to access the resource from server

  • It can return the results in the form of JSON, XML, that is the HTTPResponse.

However, at the same time in MVC

  • We can use the session

  • We can make it stateful

  • We can return video or image from the controller action method which basically violates the REST principles

That is why MVC is REST-Based whereas WEB API supports all the above principles and is RESTFul.


"REST" is an architectural paradigm. "RESTful" describes using that paradigm.


As Jason said in the comments, RESTful is just used as an adjective describing something that respects the REST constraints.


REST stands for representational state transfer. That means that state itself is not transferred but a mere representation of it is. The most common example is a pure HTML server based app (no javascript). The browser knows nothing about the application itself but through links and resources, the server is able transfer the state of the application to the browser. Where a button would normally change a state variable (e.g. page open) in a regular windows application, in the browser you have a link that represents such a state change.

The idea is to use hypermedia. And perhaps to create new hypermedia types. Potentially we can expand the browser with javascript/AJAX and create new custom hypermedia types. And we would have a true REST application.

This is my short version of what REST stands for, the problem is that it is hard to implement. I personally say RESTful, when I want to make reference to the REST principles but I know I am not really implementing the whole concept of REST. We don't really say SOAPful, because you either use SOAP or not. I think most people don't do REST the way it was envisioned by it's creator Roy Fielding, we actually implement RESTful or RESTlike architectures. You can see his dissertation, and you will find the REST acronym but not the word RESTful.


REST is an style of software architecture for distributed software

Conforming to the REST constraints is referred to as being ‘RESTful’.

Very used today to build web services as an alternative to SOAP.

Here you have some links to check


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