I heard it said that REST is "document-centric". Unclear what this meant, I began poking around and found the term document-oriented being used of databases, particularly NoSQL databases, and in contrast to a barebones key-value store. Thus it seems that documented-orientation of databases has to do with their internal representations being JSON or XML; I saw on the Wikipedia page that many document-oriented databases claim to support a RESTful API, but not having experience with any NoSQL databases and also being new to REST, I'm unsure what that means (the database itself is directly accessible through a service?); and anyway, as far as I know, REST does not constrain the underlying data model of an application, but only its service contract.

So what does it mean to say that REST is document-centric/oriented? Does it mean that REST constrains a service to use JSON or XML in its contract? Does it mean that REST is more friendly towards NoSQL databases than conventional relational databases?

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    They just really didn't want to use the word object because it's already poisoned (for good reason). Commented May 28, 2013 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


Document-centric means that it doesn't require static schema. This is usually done by saving data in platform-agnostic format using many data-serializing methods like JSON and XML. This allows easy development and versioning, but makes it harder to validate each object.

  • For robustness: So what would be the contrasting term, when a schema is required? Are there examples of a SOA architecture that is not document-centric?
    – Kazark
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 2:34
  • @Kazark Oposite is when transfer/persistence requires defined schema. For databases, this is represented by relational model. For web services it is whole SOAP alongside it's WSDL.
    – Euphoric
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 6:15
  • Okay, great. Sometimes the contrast is what is needed for a clearer understanding. If you like, maybe you can add that to your answer.
    – Kazark
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 16:19

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