What is a REST API?

REST APIs are one of the most common sorts of web services available nowadays. Clients, such as web browsers, may use the REST API to communicate with a server. Therefore, it’s incredibly essential to create REST APIs appropriately so that we won’t run into issues in the future. We have to take into mind security, speed, and ease of use for API consumers.

Otherwise, we generate issues for clients who utilize our APIs, which isn’t pleasant and detracts people from accessing our API. If we don’t follow widely recognized conventions, then we confuse the maintainers of the API and the clients who use them since it’s different from what everyone expects.

Stateless communication and caching of data are two examples of architectural restrictions that are met by a REST API. It is not a protocol or standard. REST APIs may be accessed using a number of communication protocols, although HTTPS is the most common. As a result, the following rules apply to REST API endpoints that are contacted over the internet. Focus on the business entities that the web API exposes. For example, in an e-commerce system, the key entities may be customers and orders. An HTTP POST request with the order details may be used to create an order. The HTTP response informs whether the order was placed successfully or not. When practical, resource URIs should be based on nouns (the resource) and not verbs (the activities on the resource) (the operations on the resource) (the operations on the resource).

Many of the API design concepts found on the web are academic disputes centering around subjective interpretations of foggy standards as opposed to what makes sense in the real world. My purpose with this post is to explain recommended practices for a pragmatic API suitable for today's internet applications. I make no attempt to satisfy a standard if it doesn't seem proper. To assist smooth the decision making process.

How an API should be?

  • It should implement web standards where they make sense
  • Developers should find it enjoyable, and it should be easy to explore using a browser's URL bar.
  • It should be basic, intuitive and consistent to make adoption not only easy but pleasurable
  • It should provide enough flexibility to power majority of the Enchant UI
  • It should be efficient, while retaining balance with the other demands
  • An API is a developer's user interface, and like with any user interface, it is critical that the user's experience be well designed!
  • Request payloads and response payloads should be in JSON, which is the preferred format for REST API response transmissions. JSON is the standard for exchanging data. Almost any networked technology may exploit it: JavaScript has built-in mechanisms to encode and decode JSON either via the Fetch API or another HTTP client. Server-side technologies have libraries that can decode JSON without expending much work.

  • There are different techniques to deliver data. XML isn’t normally accepted by frameworks without converting the data ourselves to something that can be used, and that’s frequently JSON. We can’t update this data as simply on the client-side, especially in browsers. Standard data transmission requires a significant amount of extra work.

    Form data is useful for delivering data, especially if we desire to convey files. But for text and numbers, we don’t need form data to send them since—with most frameworks—we can transfer JSON by just obtaining the data from it directly on the client side. It’s by far the most easiest to do so.

    To make sure that when our REST API app answers with JSON that clients perceive it as such, we should set Content-Type in the response header to application/json after the request is made. Many server-side app frameworks set the response header automatically. Some HTTP clients look at the Content-Type response header and interpret the contents according to that format.

    The only exception is if we’re trying to send and receive files between client and server. Processing file responses and delivering form data from the client to the server are next steps. But that is a subject for another day.

    We should furthermore make sure that our APIs send JSON as a response. Many server-side frameworks support this as a built-in capability.

    Summary

    REST APIs are one of the most common kinds of web services available nowadays. Clients, such as web browsers, may use the REST API to communicate with a server. It's essential to create REST APIs appropriately so that we won't run into issues in the future. An API is a developer's user interface. It should implement web standards where they make sense, and it should be easy to explore using a browser's URL bar. Request payloads and response payloads should be in JSON, which is preferred format for REST API response transmissions.