Top 15 Questions and Answers for an Interview About RESTful Web Services
Many programming and web development jobs need RESTful web services. Since this is a specialized technical skill, interviewers will probably ask you about your real-world experience and a few questions to test your knowledge.
Reviewing the basics of RESTful web services before an interview can help you give the best answers and make a good impression on the interviewer. In this article, we answer 15 common interview questions about restful web services that are used to test skills in this area.
Sample interview questions and how to answer them
Since RESTful services require specialized knowledge, you should expect your interview questions to ask you to show some level of knowledge. Here are some examples:
- How do services on the web work?
- What does the letter REST stand for?
- What is the purpose of RESTful web services?
- What kind of protocol do RESTful web services use?
- What does it mean not to have a country? What are the pros and cons of not having a country?
- What do caches mean?
- How should I store something in a cache?
- Which HTTP methods do RESTful web services use most often?
- What is a REST resource, and what do they look like?
- What is message in RESTful web services?
- Which part of an HTTP request is the most important?
- What is a URI, and why do we need it?
- What is the best way to make a URI?
- What are some actions that can be repeated?
- What is the point of an HTTP status code?
How do services on the web work?
Interviewers will ask you this question to see if you are comfortable explaining simple ideas about programming and web development. It can also be used to set up later, more difficult questions.
Example: “Web services are the ways that different kinds of software and apps can share data with each other. They use a set of rules and protocols to send information through computer networks.”
What does the letter REST stand for?
This question lets the interviewer see how well you remember things and how much you know about RESTful web services in general. You can show that you are a serious candidate and introduce yourself by giving a correct definition of REST.
For example, “REST” stands for “Representational State Transfer.”
What is the purpose of RESTful web services?
Your answer to this question should be right and show that you know what you are talking about. How do RESTful services work? Give some examples.
Example: “RESTful web services are a standard set of programming rules that let clients access and change data resources on a network, such as the internet. They use simple ways to let a server connect to things like pictures, videos, and web pages.
What kind of protocol do RESTful web services use?
Employers can use this question to see if a job candidate doesn’t know programming terms. Protocol can mean any set of rules, but when it comes to RESTful web services jobs, it means a specific web program. Sometimes, short and to the point is enough.
What does it mean not to have a country? What are the pros and cons of not having a country?
Since statelessness is a key concept in RESTful web services jobs, you should be able to confidently explain its pros and cons.
Example: “When a server doesn’t keep any information about a client, this is called statelessness. This means that things outside of the server can’t change how the client interacts with the server. If there is no state, clients will have to give their information to their server every time they use it. But clients can use statelessness to make their apps easier to use and keep up-to-date.”
What do caches mean?
People who use the internet often know what caching is and how it works. However, caching is used in a different way when working with RESTful web services. When answering this question, be sure to explain why caching is important for RESTful web services in particular.
Example: “Caching is a feature of RESTful web services that lets clients store a certain type of information for a limited time. Since many RESTful web services don’t keep track of state, caching lets clients store some information when they know they’ll be talking to a server more than once about the same resource.”
How should I store something in a cache?
Employers want to hire people who know the best ways to do things in their field. The way you answer this question will show how much you care about how well you do your work.
Example: “Things like images and CSS don’t change, so you should delete them after two or three days. If a resource is often updated, it shouldn’t be cached for more than a few hours. This keeps the web services simple and not tied to any one state.”
Which HTTP methods do RESTful web services use most often?
This question will let you show that you know how to apply what you know about REST in the workplace. You should be able to describe each method, since working with REST means using them often.
Example: “There are five HTTP methods that are often used in RESTful web services: get, put, delete, post, and options. “”Get” lets clients read a resource, “Put” lets them make a new one, “Delete” lets them get rid of one, “Post” lets them make a new resource or change an existing one, and “Options” shows what each resource can do.”
What is a REST resource, and what do they look like?
Interviewers often look for people who know how to do their jobs and what they are supposed to do. Instead of just giving a definition, it would be better to explain why resources are important.
Example “A resource in a computer network is any kind of data. They can be images, text files, web pages, and other kinds of content. RESTful web services make it easy for clients to get to these resources. They are usually shown in JSON and XML formats.
What is message in RESTful web services?
Employers will ask you questions about REST messaging to see if you can figure out what is wrong. This question lets you show that you know how to use standard ways to talk to RESTful web services.
Example: “In RESTful web services, clients send and receive messages to and from servers. The client sends an HTTP request to the server, and the server sends information about the resource in an HTTP response.”
Which part of an HTTP request is the most important?
Employers ask this question to find out how well a candidate can find and organize information. You should know what each part of your job does, how important it is, and how to find it.
“The most important parts of an HTTP request are the verb or HTTP methods, the URI, the HTTP version, the header, and the message body.”
What is a URI, and why do we need it?
There are a lot of abbreviations that are often used in programming and web development. Interviewers may ask you to explain URI to see if you really know what you’re talking about.
Example: “Uniform Resource Identifier, or URI, is a way to give each resource in a RESTful web service a unique name. Clients use URIs to find out where each resource is on the server.”
What is the best way to make a URI?
Employers often ask this question to make sure you know the rules for keeping their website running smoothly.
Example: “The format of a standard URI needs to be simple and the same every time. Use small letters, plural nouns, and HTTP verbs like “delete” to make the name stand out and be easier to remember. There shouldn’t be any spaces. Use an underscore or a hyphen instead.”
What are some actions that can be repeated?
Find out how much you know about REST by answering this question. There are only two things that can be done more than once, so the employer will want a specific answer that only qualified candidates will know.
Example: “Idempotent operations are things you can do in a network that always work the same way. You can use “put” and “delete” more than once.”
What is the point of an HTTP status code?
Employers may ask this question to see if the person applying for a job in RESTful web services knows why they are doing the work they are applying for. They might also want to know what certain status codes mean.
Example: “HTTP status codes are a set of codes that tell a person what they need to know about a resource when they use its URI to get to it. They tell people what is going on with the information they want to look up. For example, HTTP 400 means that the request was not formatted correctly, and HTTP 404 means that the resource is not on the server.”