Application programming interfaces, or APIs, are responsible for the commercial success of thousands of businesses. By serving as intermediaries between web applications, APIs enable millions of users to access a range of web products on the Internet. Restful APIs play a major role in microservices which is one of the most popular topics nowadays. Any powerful API follows a certain set of best practices that make them reliable, easy to use, and fast. Therefore, let’s see what makes Restful APIs powerful and popular in this article.
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What Makes The Restful API Paradigm Powerful?
All Restful APIs must adhere to the REST API standards. These standards help to guarantee that Restful APIs are pretty easy to use as an interface between web applications. There are a number of requirements to follow in the REST API standards. The list below shows some of them.
- Statelessness – It means that the server will not keep any information pertaining to the session. You should include all the state needed to process the request in the request itself.
- Cacheable – Each response should indicate whether a response is cacheable. The response should also mention for how long the response can be stored on the client-side.
- Decoupled – In the REST distributed architecture, we separate the client and server applications.
- Layered System – RESTful architecture requires us to organize the design into interconnected layers. These layers function together to keep the API simple to understand and scale.
- Client-server – The client and server components should be independent of one another and capable of operating successfully.
- Code on Demand – This is an optional constraint. Usually, RestAPIs use JSON to send resources. However, you have the option to extend the functionality by sending executable codes.
Why Is The Restful API Popular Among Developers?
REST APIs are popular among developers since they are simple to use and easier to comprehend. However, there are more reasons for the popularity of RestAPIs, as listed below.
- Interaction with web services does not require the purchase of expensive tools.
- A less steep learning curve
- More effective (REST message formats are shorter than the XML used in SOAP messages).
- Faster and requiring less processing.
What Are The Best Practices For The Rest API?
You need to follow The ideal REST API design principles if you want to make your API users’ lives easier. These design principles increase the readability of the API. You can find some of the conventions used for designing REST APIs in the list below.
Use JSON As The Format For Data Transmission
Use Nouns In Endpoints
The endpoint paths of a REST API you develop shouldn’t contain verbs. Nouns should be used to describe the endpoints’ individual functions. This is due to the fact that fundamental CRUD operations are already being carried out using verb-based HTTP methods like PUT, POST, PATCH, GET, and DELETE. In other words, leave the work of the endpoints to the HTTP verbs. Data would therefore are retrieved using GET, created using POST, updated using PUT, and deleted using DELETE.
Use Error Status Codes
The server uses HTTP codes to tell browse the status of the request. There are a few popular status codes defined in HTTP protocol that you should use in your API. These status codes will help the developers who use your API to understand whether their request is successful or not. Not only that, they can even find out the issue if the request is unsuccessful. We have categorized the status codes into several sets, as shown below.
Apply Nesting To Present Relationships At Endpoints
Since many endpoints might frequently be connected, nesting them will make them simpler to comprehend. Nesting that is deeper than three levels should be avoided because it can make the API less clear and beautiful.
Make Use Of Plural Nouns To Name A Collection
Simply use plural nouns when developing a collection in a REST API. Humans can more easily comprehend the significance of a collection without having to open it. Therefore, instead of https://myapp.com/post/123, it should be: https://myapp.com/posts/123
Use SSL For Security
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. A REST API should be designed with security in mind. As a result, your API will be secure, making it less susceptible to harmful attacks. Once you configure an SSL certificate, you will get an HTTPS URL address. People prefer to use HTTPS URLs as they have more credibility.
One of the crucial but frequently overlooked components of a REST API framework is documentation. Documentation is the initial point of contact when a client is trying to comprehend the product. It will also be a deciding factor whether or not to use the product. A well-organized documentation provides the content in the right order helping new users to navigate your API with ease.
Use Pagination, Sorting, And Filtering When Obtaining Data
The database of an API can grow significantly. Data retrieval from such a database can be extremely slow. Collections are a popular way to send large amounts of data. When you have a collection of data, perform actions like sorting, filtering, and pagination. By pagination, you can break a large amount of data among a few pages. That helps to reduce the workload on servers.
Maintain Proper Versioning
We have to upgrade APIs when we introduce new features. However, the client may find it difficult to upgrade to the newer versions. Therefore, you have to maintain different versions of the APIs so they can keep using the older versions. Semantic versioning is one of the most widely used versioning methods in web development. You can use the same method for APIs.
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