Rest – Pagination in a REST web application


This is a more generic reformulation of this question (with the elimination of the Rails specific parts)

I am not sure how to implement pagination on a resource in a RESTful web application.
Assuming that I have a resource called products, which of the following do you think is the best approach, and why:

1. Using only query strings

eg. http://application/products?page=2&sort_by=date&sort_how=asc

The problem here is that I can't use full page caching and also the URL is not very clean and easy to remember.

2. Using pages as resources and query strings for sorting

eg. http://application/products/page/2?sort_by=date&sort_how=asc

In this case, the problem that is see is that http://application/products/pages/1 is not a unique resource since using sort_by=price can yield a totally different result and I still can't use page caching.

3. Using pages as resources and an URL segment for sorting

eg. http://application/products/by-date/page/2

I personally see no problem in using this method, but someone warned me that this is not a good way to go (he didn't give a reason, so if you know why it's not recommended, please let me know)

Any suggestions, opinions, critiques are more than welcome. Thanks.

Best Solution

I agree with Fionn, but I'll go one step further and say that to me the Page is not a resource, it's a property of the request. That makes me chose option 1 query string only. It just feels right. I really like how the Twitter API is structured restfully. Not too simple, not too complicated, well documented. For better or worse it's my "go to" design when I am on the fence on doing something one way versus another.