andi andi - 10 days ago 5
reST (reStructuredText) Question

Pagination in a REST web application

This is a more generic reformulation of this question (with the elimination of the Rails specific parts)

I am not sure how to implement pagination on a resource in a RESTful web application.
Assuming that I have a resource called

products
, which of the following do you think is the best approach, and why:

1. Using only query strings



eg.
http://application/products?page=2&sort_by=date&sort_how=asc


The problem here is that I can't use full page caching and also the URL is not very clean and easy to remember.

2. Using pages as resources and query strings for sorting



eg.
http://application/products/page/2?sort_by=date&sort_how=asc


In this case, the problem that is see is that
http://application/products/pages/1
is not a unique resource since using
sort_by=price
can yield a totally different result and I still can't use page caching.

3. Using pages as resources and an URL segment for sorting



eg.
http://application/products/by-date/page/2


I personally see no problem in using this method, but someone warned me that this is not a good way to go (he didn't give a reason, so if you know why it's not recommended, please let me know)

Any suggestions, opinions, critiques are more than welcome. Thanks.

Answer

I think the problem with version 3 is more a "point of view" problem - do you see the page as the resource or the products on the page.

If you see the page as the resource it is a perfectly fine solution, since the query for page 2 will always yield page 2.

But if you see the products on the page as the resource you have the problem that the products on page 2 might change (old products deleted, or whatever), in this case the URI is not always returning the same resource(s).

E.g. A customer stores a link to the product list page X, next time the link is opened the product in question might no longer be on page X.