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The result of processing an HTTP request consists of mappings. Each mapping is from an order number to an object. Is it a good practice to return this as an HTTP response whose body is a Map<String, Object>? How about a List where the object contains the order number string as an attribute. If none of these is a good practice, how should the response look like? How are these options, from a RESTfulness perspective?

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    "Good" in what sense? Specify a criteria. Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 1:23
  • Edited to include a criteria, sort of. Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 2:04

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the response body for a HTTP request can be whatever you want, really, and how you structure that depends on how your data is structured. If you want it to be easily used by a variety of consumers, converting the data to a common textual data structure is useful.

For this purpose, JSON and XML are common. JSON is probably the closest standard format for what you want. eg, body = {1:{//object}, 2:{//anotherobject}}, with an appropriate content type header (eg, "application/json" so that people using the API know by headers what the format is). I would recommend that over a list of objects with the numeric key eg [{key:1,object:{}}] because the default (val,object) mapping makes it easier to search

Depending on the language you are using, you will probably want to avoid the myMap.toString() type of responses and use a proper/dedicated JSON serialisation function.

Is it good practice? If the data suits the format, it's fine. These sorts of responses are common.

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