REST stands for representational state transfer and is a software architectural style common in the World Wide Web. Anything with a RESTful interface can be communicated with using standard REST syntax. ThingWorx has such an interface built-in to make viewing and updating Thing properties as well as executing services easy to do independently of the Web UI.
How to Use REST API
The ThingWorx REST API is entirely accessible via URL using the following syntax:
Postman is a commonly used REST client which can ping servers via REST API in a manner which mimics third party software. It is free and easy-to-use, with a full tutorial located here: https://www.getpostman.com/docs/
In order to make a request, populate the URL field with a properly formatted REST API call (see previous section). Parameters will not automatically be URL-encoded, but right-clicking on a highlighted portion of the URL and selecting EncodeURIComponent encodes the section.
Next click the headers tab. Here is where the content-type, accept, and authorization are set for the REST call. Accept refers to which response format the REST call is expecting while content-type refers to the format of the request being sent to the server. Authhorization is required for accessing ThingWorx, even via REST API (see previous section for examples authenticating using an app key, but in Postman you can also use Basic Auth using a username and password)
In Postman, there is also ample opportunity to modify the request body under the Body tab. There are several options here for setting parameters. Form-data and x-www-form-urlencoded both allow for setting key value pairs easily and cleanly, and in the latter case, encoding occurs automatically (e.g. “Hello World” becomes %22Hello%20World%22). Raw request types can contain anything and Postman will not touch anything entered except to replace environment variables. Whatever is placed in the text area under raw will get sent with the request (normally XML or JSON, as specified by content-type). Finally, binary allows for sending things which cannot normally be entered into Postman, e.g. image, text, or audio files.
Uploading files to FileRepository type Things is a bit tricky as anything uploaded must be Base64 encoded prior to making the service call. In Postman, this is the configuration to used to send a file called “HelloWorld.txt”, containing the string “Hello World!”, to a folder called “FolderInRepo” on a FileRepository named “MyRepo”:
Notice here that the content has been encoded to Base64 using a free online service. In most cases, this step can be handled by programming language code more easily and for more challenging file content