What Is REST API?

What Is REST API?

API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface, a software that allows applications to communicate with each other over the internet and on different devices. 

APIs allow two applications to talk with each other over the internet or to communicate using different devices. 

People use APIs almost whenever they want to access an app like Facebook or check the weather on their smartphones.

REST stands for Representational State Transfer and is the name of a software style. RESTful APIs are based on six principles that describe how networks of computers and other computing devices are managed.

Roy Fielding described the principles for designing software for a distributed system in his dissertation Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software Architectures in 2000. 

The principle of statelessness is essential for a RESTful API. It states that each REST message contains all the information necessary to understand it. 

Every REST message must contain all the information that is necessary to understand that message. REST is a programming language or a basic structure that allows an application to be executed.

RESTful APIs use the HTTP request methods GET, POST, PUSH, and DELETE, that is described in RFC 2616. No specific protocols are required for clients and servers to talk with each other over REST-APIs. 

With GET, we can ask for resources from a RESTful API. Post, we can create new resources or change the state of existing resources. DELETE is used to delete resources. POST is used to request an update or to modify a resource. 

Using the HTTP request methods GET, POST, PUSH and DROP, you can modify resources or modify the content of existing resources. DELETE is used to delete a resource permanently. Most APIs use four HTTP methods.

How did REST API Start?

REST is a form of programming that replaces SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL ( Web Services Description Language ) APIs. REST was developed in the late 1990s and revolutionized the way APIs work. 

eBay and Amazon introduced RESTful APIs in 2003. Only a few websites and service providers can access eBay’s well-documented and user-friendly REST API. 

In this way, customers could access the eBay marketplace not just by visiting the website directly but also through websites that used the API provided by eBay.

Flickr launched its REST API in 2004, just before social networking and blogs took hold. This allowed the development of social networking, which was later incorporated into Facebook and Twitter.

In 2006, Amazon launched its REST API, which contributed to the development of the cloud. The cloud is now widely used. RESTful APIs allow applications to access cloud computing services. 

They enable applications to access cloud services and communicate with other systems. They are now used by many websites and are considered the backbone of the web.

What Are the Six Principles of REST?

Here are the 6 principles of REST:

Client-server architecture

Client-server architecture is based on separating problems between client and server.

The separation of user interface components and data storage allows porting user interface components between platforms to be more flexible.

It is also possible to develop different components independently of each other.

Statelessness

Statelessness refers to the fact that the information sent by a client to a server is always part of the information the server needs to process the request.

There is no way a client could store all the state needed for a session on a server; all the state needed is available to the client when the request is made. 

Clients must use a different method to authenticate themselves on each request if a resource requires authentication.

Caching

The performance of clients, servers, and other intermediate components can be improved by caching all resources. 

The information is either cacheable or non-cacheable. Information can be classified as being cacheable or not cacheable.

Uniform Interface

A RESTful API’s components must communicate similarly to function effectively. This also makes it easier to understand the interactions that take place between different components in a system.

Layered System

There is a limit to the level of understanding that individual components can have beyond their interaction.

Whenever clients connect to an intermediary component, such as a proxy, they have no idea what is behind them. This allows components to be easily swapped or extended independently of each other.

Code-on-demand

You can download more code so a client can do whatever is possible. Moreover, the server will provide you with additional code you can download. Since the client may not be able to download or execute this code, it is optional.

What Is the Advantage of Using REST API in development?

The REST API provides the advantage of separating the user interface from the server and data storage.

It allows a REST API to be easily translated into many different languages and is, therefore, easier to use across different devices. 

It allows you to easily port the API to other platforms and work on different components of your API independently. 

The process of migrating data between different servers or databases can be done easily, as long as all the data from each request is sent correctly.

This separation of the client and server components allows developers to build more flexible APIs.

REST APIs do not depend on the type of platform or the languages used; they adapt to the syntax or the platform used. 

This allows you to easily move between different servers or environments within a development environment.

You can use any web server that supports REST APIs: you can use PHP, Python, or Node.js to implement them. 

A response must only be formatted according to the language used to store and deliver information, such as XML or JSON.

It is hard to use standard REST APIs, and a lack of standardization can cause misunderstanding.

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