Are REST APIs for Cloud Computing Well-Designed? An Exploratory Study.

Oct 06 2016

Authors: Petrillo Fabio, Philippe Merle, Naouel Moha, Yann-Gaël Guéhéneuc

Download the paper on HAL.

 Cloud computing is currently the most popular model to offer and access computational resources and services. Many cloud providers use the REST architectural style (Representational State Transfer) for offering such computational resources. However, these cloud providers face challenges when designing and exposing REST APIs that are easy to handle by end-users and/or developers. Yet, they benefit from best practices to help them design understandable and reusable REST APIs. However, these best practices are scattered in the literature and they have not be studied systematically on real-world APIs. Consequently, we propose two contributions. In our first contribution, we survey the literature and compile a catalog of 73 best practices in the design of REST APIs making APIs more understandable and reusable. In our second contribution, we perform a study of three different and well-known REST APIs from three cloud providers to investigate how their APIs are offered and accessed. These cloud providers are Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, and Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI). In particular, we evaluate the coverage of the features provided by the REST APIs of these cloud providers and their conformance with the best practices for REST APIs design. Our results show that Google Cloud follows 66% (48/73), OpenStack follows 62% (45/73), and OCCI 1.2 follows 56% (41/73) of the best practices. Second, although these numbers are not necessarily high, partly because of the strict and precise specification of best practices, we showed that cloud APIs reach an acceptable level of maturity. 

ICSOC 2016
Dates: October 10-13, 2016
Venue: Banff, Alberta, Canada
Website: ICSOC 2016

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