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PUT versus POST: one of those conversations you try not to have. It leads to broken friendships, rainy picnics, and sad-looking kittens. People are passionate about REST, and this is one of the really sensitive topics.
First, you can read the technical descriptions in the rfc2616 document I mentioned earlier. It’s actually pretty cool stuff. But this is more than theory: you’ll need to know when to choose PUT and when to choose POST, so listen up!
Each HTTP method is said to be “safe” or “unsafe”. An HTTP method is “safe” if using it doesn’t modify anything on the server. Ok, yes, logs will be written and analytics collected, but “safe” methods should never modify any real data. GET and HEAD are “safe” methods.
Making a request with unsafe methods - like POST, PUT and DELETE - does change data. Actually, if you make a request with an unsafe method it may not change anything. For example, if I try to update a programmer’s avatarNumber to the value it already has, nothing happens.
The point is that if a client uses an unsafe method, it knows that this method may have consequences. But if it uses a safe method, that request won’t ever have consequences. You could of course write an API that violates this. But that’s dishonest - like showing a picture of ice cream and then giving people broccoli. I like brocolli, but don’t be a jerk.
Being “safe” affects caching. Safe requests can be cached by a client, but unsafe requests can’t be. But caching is a whole different topic!
Within the unsafe methods, we have to talk about the famous term: “idempotency”. A request is idempotent if the side effects of making the request 1 time is the same as making the request 2, 3, 4, or 1072 times. PUT and DELETE are idempotent, POST is not.
For example, if we make the PUT request from our test once, it updates the avatarNumber to 2. If we make it again, the avatarNumber will still be 2. If we make the PUT request 1 time or 10 times, the server always results in the same state.
Now think about the POST request in our test, and imagine for a second that the nickname doesn’t have to be unique, because that detail clouds things here unnecessarily.
by Don Boudreaux on April 17, 2015
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Here’s a letter to the Huffington Post :
Hillary Clinton insists that “[t]here’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker” (“
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,” April 15).
Well now. As a speaker Ms. Clinton is paid, on average, $300,000 per talk; as a speaker I am paid, on average, $1,000 per talk. As a speaker, therefore, Ms. Clinton is paid 300 times more than I am paid! Is “something wrong”? Is the market for speakers rigged unfairly in favor of famous and politically connected speakers such as Ms. Clinton, and against obscure and ordinary speakers such as me? Is Ms. Clinton part of a nefarious network of greedy speaker-insiders who profit unjustly at the expense of myself and other more-typical speakers by manipulating the speaker market? Should government intervene into the speaker market to remedy this 300-to-1 ratio in speaker fees? Would the amounts that event organizers pay me to speak go up if government ensures that Ms. Clinton’s speaker fee is pushed down?
Although I reject everything that Ms. Clinton stands for (and proclaims in her speeches!), I’m quite sure that her high fee accurately reflects the value to her audiences of having her speak, just as my modest fee accurately reflects my value as a public speaker. So unless Ms. Clinton is prepared to conclude, solely because her speaker pay is 300 times that of typical speakers, that she profits unjustly at my and othertypical speakers’ expense, she has no basis for asserting that a 300-to-1 differencein pay in other industries and lines of work is “wrong.”
Sincerely, Donald J. Boudreaux Professor of Economics and Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030
UPDATE: Jon Murphy’s comment here reminds me that I wanted to append to this letter this analysis from the Washington Post of Ms. Clinton’s claim .UPDATE:
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