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What is Rest API

by Naveen Agarwal
RESTful API design

If you wish to go through API documents while using them effectively, you should be able to understand everything about Rest API. Let us help you understand the same in detail.

An Insight into Rest API

If you have thought about obtaining data from some other source on the Internet, then you might have come across the term Rest API. Rest API or RESTful API design refers to Representational State Transfer. The given design is made to leverage the potential of the existing protocols. REST can be utilized across almost every protocol out there. However, it is primarily known to take the overall benefit of HTTP when the same is utilized for web-based APIs.

In 2000, Dr. Roy Fielding had developed the Rest API design framework to serve as a part of his doctoral dissertation. The given design framework is highly renowned for its several layers of flexibility. As data in this scenario is not linked to resources and methods, Rest API delivers the capability of handling several types of calls. At the same time, it is also capable of returning different formats of data and changing structurally with the right implementation of hypermedia.

At the same time, there are some disadvantages to the concept of Rest API design. You might end up losing the ability of maintaining state in REST –like within sessions. Moreover, it can be slightly difficult for newbie developers to use the framework.

Getting an understanding of REST API Design

While most of the APIs out there claim that they are RESTful, they tend to fall short in terms of constraints and requirements as put forth by Dr. Fielding. There are some major constraints to the design of Rest API that you should consider while choosing the best API type for your subsequent project. Here are some:

#Stateless

Rest APIs tend to be stateless. This implies that you can make the call independently –without any intervention from one another. Each call in the given framework represents all data that is important for completing itself effectively. A Rest API is not expected to rely on data that is being stored on the sessions or server for determining the right action with the call. On the other hand, a Rest API is known to rely completely on the data that is being provided on the given call itself.

The identification of information is not stored on the respective server while making calls. Rather than this, every call out there is known to feature the important data in itself. The data might include user ID, access token, API ID, and so more. This also helps in increasing the overall liability of the APIs by having access to the necessary data for making the call rather than depending on a series of calls with the server state for creating objects. This could result in partial failure. Rather than this, for reducing memory requirements and ensuring that the application is highly scalable, a Rest API needs that any state gets stored on the client, and not on the server.

#Client-Server

The given constraint is known to work on the grounds that the client and the respective server should be separate from each other. Moreover, the given entities should also be enabled to evolve independently and individually. In simpler words, it can be said that the users should be allowed to modify the given database or ensure changes to the server application without influencing the mobile client.

In addition to this, the users should be capable of modifying the mobile application without influencing either the database design on the given server or the data structure. This helps in the creation of a separation of specific concerns –allowing every application to grow & scale independently from one another. At the same time, it also allows your organization to expand efficiently and quickly.

#Cache

As a stateless API is capable of increasing the overall request overhead by managing increased loads of outbound and incoming calls, a Rest API design should be implemented for encouraging the storage of data that is cacheable. This implies that when the data remains cacheable, the given response can indicate that the data can be organized to a specific time. Alternatively, if the data is required to be in real-time, then the given response should not be cached by the respective clients.

As the crucial constraint gets enabled, you are not just able to significantly reduce the number of interactions within the API, but you are also capable of reducing internal server usage. At the same time, you can look forward to providing the API users with the necessary tools for providing the quickest and the most efficient applications out there.

It is important to note that caching is implemented on the client side. While you are capable of caching some data within the given architecture for all-round performance, the objective is to instruct the client on how the same should proceed. It also helps in deciding whether or not the given client is capable of storing data temporarily.

#Uniform Interface

The objective of decoupling clients from its server is to ensure a uniform interface. The interface should be capable of enabling independent development of the application without having access to the models, services, or actions of the application strongly linked to the API layer.

The uniform interface allows the client to ensure conversation with the server with the help of a single language. It tends to be independent of the client’s or server’s architectural backend. The interface that you design should be capable of offering standardized and unchanging means of ensuring communication between the server & the client –including CRUD (Create Read Update Delete), HTT{ with relevant URI resources, JSON, and so more.

#Code on Demand

It enables the applets or code to be transferred with the help of the API within the given application. It helps in the creation of a smart application that remains independent by having its own code structure.

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