BREAD, not CRUD

Several developers have asked me what "BREAD" means in web applications. Most everyone knows that CRUD is "create, read, update, delete," but I think that misses an important aspect of web apps: the listing of records to select from.

I don't recall where I first heard the term BREAD; it stands for "browse, read, edit, add, delete". That covers more of what common web apps do, including the record listings. It even sounds nicer: "crud" is something icky, but "bread" is warm and fulfilling. That's why I tend to use the term BREAD instead of CRUD, especially when it comes to Solar and action-method names in the application logic.

Update 1 (2008-08-21): Wow, lot of traffic from Reddit and Y-Combinator on this one. Be sure to check out my post on Web Framework Benchmarking, and of course the Solar Framework for PHP 5.

I see a couple of comments saying that "browse is the same thing as read, it's just a special-case of read." I can see where that would be true, in a limited way. Using similar logic, one could argue that "add" is a special case of "edit", it just happens that the record isn't there yet; and then "delete" is another special case of "edit", you're just editing it out of existence. So that leaves you with just Read (one/many) and Edit (existing/non-existing/out-of-existence).

I think that takes things way too far. ;-) The special cases of "edit" are *so* special that they deserve their own logic. I think the same thing applies to "browse" -- it might be a special case of "read", but it's different-enough to deserve its own place.

Update 2: Matthew Weier O'Phinney refreshes my memory -- he mentioned the term to me years ago in a discussion about his PHP port of CGI::App. Thanks, Matthew!

Update 3: I said above that you could reduce all operations to "read" (with 2 cases) and "edit" (with 3 cases). It occurs to me now that those correspond to the way GET and POST are most-widely used. So maybe it wasn't such a silly argument after all. ;-)


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