REST Tools

REST services are everywhere now. Long gone are the days of RPC and other horrible tools for running functions on a remote machine. This is great news for developers as older frameworks were very cumbersome and far less useful than REST services. What makes REST even more important is that they are used along with JSON to enable all kinds of slick functionality on the internet. Indeed, countless web applications and mobile applications now use JSON-based REST services. And just as there are numerous applications using JSON and REST, there are countless ways you can test REST services and create mockup services. But not all tools are created equal – particular for lightweight, simple testing. For example, a colleague recently said he was using Java and JAX-RS to mockup REST services. Certainly you can do that, but the amount of code you need to write and the frameworks required make it anything but simple. What tools do I use for REST testing? I like to use Python and Flask for mocking up REST services. For example, I can create a simple REST service in Python to return the sine of a number with the following snippet of code:

from flask import Flask
from flask import jsonify
import math

app = Flask(__name__)

def trig_sin(num):
  rad = float(num) * (math.pi / 180)
  sin = math.sin(rad)
  dict = {'input':num,'sin':str(sin)}
  return jsonify(dict);

if __name__ == '__main__':

This is a full service, not a mockup. A mockup would be even simpler – just create the route and return the JSON you want. Nothing could be simpler for mocking a service.

For testing services, I use Visual Studio Code and the REST plugin by Huachao Mao. To test the above service, I can enter the snippet below into a file with a .http extension, and the REST plugin will create a button for me to call the service.


I can create countless test calls as well as supply headers and JSON POST data. Even better, the .http document creates a documentation that is concise, clear to understand for anybody who develops REST services, and can be interacted with to see the output of the service. These two tools are my default choice for any type of REST testing.

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