Lea Hayes Lea Hayes - 2 months ago 6x
HTTP Question

Is PUT/DELETE idempotent with REST automatic?

I am learning about REST and PUT/DELETE, I have read that both of those (along with GET) is idempotent meaning that multiple requests put the server into the same state.

Does a duplicate PUT/DELETE request ever leave the web browser (when using

)? In other words, will the server be updating the same database record for each PUT request, or will duplicate requests be ignored automatically?

If yes, how is using PUT or DELETE different from just using POST?

I read an article which suggested that RESTful web services were the way forward. Is there any particular reason why HTML5 forms do not support PUT/DELETE methods?


REST is just a design structure for data access and manipulation. There's no set-in-stone rules for how a server must react to data requests.

That being said, typically a REST request of PUT or DELETE would be as follows:

DELETE /item/10293


PUT /item/23848

The requests given are associated with a specific ID. Because of this, telling the server to delete the same ID 15 times will end up with pretty much the same result as calling it once, unless there's some sort of re-numbering going on.

With the PUT request, telling the server to update a specific item to specific values will also lead to the same result.

A case where a command would be non-idempotent would typically involve some sort of relative value:

DELETE /item/last

Calling that 15 times would likely remove 15 items, rather than the same last item. An alternative using HTTP properly might look like:

POST /item/last?action=delete

Again, REST isn't an official spec, it's just a structure with some common qualities. There are many ways to implement a RESTful structure.

As for HTML5 forms supporting PUT & DELETE, it's really up to the browsers to start supporting different methods rather than the spec itself. If all the browsers started implementing different methods for form submission, I'm sure they'd be added to the spec.

With the web going the way it is, a good RESTful implementation is liable to also incorporate some form of AJAX anyway, so to me it seems largely unnecessary.