Distributed information systems predominantly have client-server architectures, as does the Web itself. In this article, we review the evolution of the interface of client-server distributed systems, from Messaging and RPC systems that predate the Web, to RESTful Web APIs. We highlight the often overlooked importance of the client-server interface in Web applications, and we reference historic and current systems to discuss the roles of “Web Service” technologies and Service-Oriented Architectures. Considering the future, we point out four directions in which we can see Web APIs moving, including the incorporation of hypermedia and semantics.
©2014 Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston