For a couple of days, I've been trying to find an example of a REST web service written in .NET. Not being ASTORIA yet a mature framework, I'd rather get something based on an already released product, even if this would mean that I should sacrifice features or write a little more code.
There are two very interesting articles published in this site: Everything about REST Web Services - What and how - Part 2 - Design and REST Web Services in ASP.NET 2.0 (C#), but none of them showed me a proper, full .NET implementation. So, I decided to write my own.
Everything about REST Web Services - What and how - Part 2 - Design explains in detail how to format a proper REST request, how to handle the different VERBs, and what kind of information should be passed to the service in each case. I encourage you to take a look at this article since I won't discuss those concepts again.
What I will provide you is a simple implementation of these requirements based on HTTP request handlers built into the .NET 2.0 framework. There are many other ways to do this. You could try with the HTTP modules, you can go for the WCF classes, and some others. I had to make a choice, and the aim was to come up with something that most people could use.
Using the code
The Visual Studio 2008 solution will be composed of a website that will provide the data service in accordance to the REST model and also a client.
The Web Service will have a web.config file that will map the service URL requests, and a (very simple) class for each verb handler. The POST and GET verbs may be sent from any web browser, so I'll be providing you a simple .html test page for this. For PUT and DELETE, I have built a custom client.
Finally, the Contacts.xml is our data source.
Create the Web Service
The first thing you'll need to set up the Web Service is to configure IIS to properly handle the requests. A basic configuration will be to remove all inherited handlers and set up your own. To do that, you'll need to edit your web.config like this...
<add verb="PUT" path="*" validate="false"
<add verb="POST" path="*" validate="false"
<add verb="GET" path="*" validate="false"
<add verb="DELETE" path="*" validate="false"
The next step is to create the handlers. This will be a basic task. Your classes should implement
IHttpHandler and process the request. The basic structure should be something like this:
public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)
if(context.Request.QueryString != sting.Empty)
HttpResponse response = context.Response;
That's all for the service...
There are two clients included as an example in this solution: a webpage and a console application.
A .htm file will show some samples of the GET and POST verbs sent both from
The console application will issue sample PUT and DELETE commands.
Points of interest
Please note that I did not write an exhaustive validation for the requests, and that the examples are not a complete scenario for the service. For example, I haven't wrote code to make a DELETE with a query string to test the error message. Also, when you implement a service like this, it would be wise to add some other validations, like:
- Validate the request URI with more detail.
- Validate the query string parameters.
- Validate the XML received against a schema.
- Any other validation on the request context like user, referrer, etc...