What is REST? Rest API Definition for Beginners

This REST API design constraint implies that the server can completely understand and fulfill the request every time. An application programming interface defines the rules that you must follow to communicate with other software systems. Developers expose or create APIs so that other applications can communicate with their applications programmatically. For example, the timesheet application exposes an API that asks for an employee’s full name and a range of dates. When it receives this information, it internally processes the employee’s timesheet and returns the number of hours worked in that date range. REST services are useful for restricted profile devices, such as mobile, and are easy to integrate with existing websites.

What is REST and REST API

Local APIs are OS or middleware services offered to an application program. For instance, Microsoft’s .NET APIs, the TAPI , and database access APIs are forms of Local APIs. Image SourceApplication Programming Interface, abbreviated as API, enables connection between computers or computer programs.

Uniform Interface

This empowers the client to run the code in its own backend. After receiving and validating the request, the host returns information about the target resource. Usually, the information is back sent in a format called JSON, which stands for JavaScript Object Notation.

What is REST and REST API

For REST services, the server typically performs resource identification by using a Uniform Resource Locator . A URL is similar to the website address that you enter into your browser to visit any webpage. The URL is also called the request endpoint and clearly specifies to the server what the client requires. Systems that implement REST APIs can scale efficiently because REST optimizes client-server interactions.

Configure the Database Connection

The advantage of employing HTTP constructs for REST APIs can also create certain constraints. Hence, many of the drawbacks of HTTP are also shortcomings of the REST architectural style. Thus, the client bears the task of maintaining the state, making the client application heavy and difficult to maintain. Uniform interface – this constraint is REST’s most well known feature or rule, depending on who you ask. REpresentational State Transfer is a software architectural style of delivering APIs dependent on the HTTP specification the web is built upon.

  • Each endpoint is a location where REST APIs can access the resources needed to carry out a function.
  • The architecture doesn’t conceal data, it only hides implementations.
  • Both REST services handle data as a resource with a unique and individual namespace.
  • My program can ask YouTube’s REST API for information about a specific video .
  • All API requests for the same resource should look the same, no matter where the request comes from.
  • Application data is available to clients in a clear and consistent interface and cached when possible.

We’ll use this endpoint as the restricted route to ensure that only authorized users with the role of admin can access this endpoint. To understand how REST APIs work, it is critical https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ to understand resources. A resource can be any information that could be named, such as a document or image, a collection of other resources, a non-virtual object, and more.

History of REST APIs

JSON lays out all the contents of a resource in a lightweight format that humans can easily read. REST is a set of guidelines that software can use to communicate over the internet in order to make integrations simple and scalable. A REST API (also called a “RESTful” API) is a specific type of API that follows these guidelines.

This allows for scalability and reduces the load on the server. With error codes, it is more of a common practice to use standard HTTP error codes. These are recognized by clients and developers more often. Let us say, our API is supposed to retrieve data, such as employee data from database server in JSON format to be consumed by client app. What is “a list of links with summary information” that we can expect as the result of the API. Roy Fielding, in his dissertation, has nowhere mentioned any implementation direction – including any protocol preference or even HTTP.

Benefits of HTTP APIs and REST APIs

REST API is a lightweight and flexible architecture that can be easily implemented on any platform or language.

What is REST and REST API

REST APIs utilize the uniform resource locator to make data available using the web. This helps to ultimately maximize usage of HTTP methods, headers, and other essential web building blocks. Unlike SOAP, REST is a common starting place for most teams when they begin investing in APIs because it provides a simple and widely recognized set of design patterns. REST on the contrary was specified by Fielding in his doctoral thesis where he analyzed how the whole user interactions occurs on the Web.

Performing CRUD Operations

Systems aligning with the REST paradigm are bound to become stateless. For Client-Server communication, stateless constraint enforces servers to remain unaware of the client state and vice-versa. A constraint is applied by using resources instead of commands, and they are nouns of the web api testing best practices that describe any object, document, or thing to store/send to other resources. Representational State Transfer is an architectural style to provide standards between systems on the web. REST is neither a protocol, nor library, nor a tool, so communication between systems becomes easy.

What is REST and REST API

For example, suppose that you visit a website that has common header and footer images on every page. Every time you visit a new website page, the server must resend the same images. To avoid this, the client caches or stores these images after the first response and then uses the images directly from the cache.


To decide which architectural style is right for you, it is critical to know the good and the bad of building a proper design when planning for your next API. There are numerous types of APIs, making it difficult for new developers to differentiate between each kind. In particular, Representational State Transfer is a software architectural style that developers apply to web APIs. REST APIs provide simple, uniform interfaces because they can be used to make data, content, algorithms, media, and other digital resources available through web URLs.

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