Originally published by Tanmay Deshpande at https://medium.com
As software developers, most of us use or build REST APIs in day to day life. APIs are the default means of communication between the systems. Amazon is the best example of how APIs can be efficiently used for communication.
Some of you might have been already aware of Jeff Bezos’ mandate to the developers in Amazon. If you never got a chance to hear about it, the following points are the crux of it.
Eventually, this turned out to be the key to Amazon’s success. Amazon could build scalable systems and later could also offer those as services like Amazon Web Services.
Now let’s understand the principles we should follow while designing the RESTful APIs.
Keep it simple
We need to make sure that the base URL of the API is simple. For example, if we want to design APIs for products, it should be designed like:
The first API is to get all products and the second one is to get a specific product.
Use nouns and not the verbs
A lot of developers make this mistake. They generally forget that we have HTTP methods with us to describe the APIs better and end up using verbs in the API URLs. For instance, API to get all products should be:
and not as shown below
Some common URL patterns, I have seen so far.
Use of the right HTTP methods
RESTful APIs have various methods to indicate the type of operation we are going to perform with this API.
We need to make sure we use the right HTTP method for a given operation.
This topic is a bit debatable. Some people like to keep the resource URL with plural names while others like to keep it singular. For instance —
I like to keep it plural since it avoids confusion about whether we are talking about getting a single resource or a collection. It also avoids adding additional things like attaching all to the base URL e.g.
Some people might not like this but my only suggestion is to keep it uniform across the project.
Sometimes we need to have an API which should be telling more story than just by id. Here we should make use of query parameters to design the API.
/products?name=’ABC’should be preferred over
/products?type=’xyz’should be preferred over
This way you can avoid long URLs with simplicity in design.
Use proper HTTP codes
We have plenty of HTTP codes. Most of us only end up using two — 200 and 500! This is certainly not good practice. Following are some commonly used HTTP codes.
Versioning of APIs is very important. Many different companies use versions in different ways. Some use versions as dates while some use versions as query parameters. I generally like to keep it prefixed to the resource. For instance:
I would also like to avoid using
/v1.2/products, as it implies the API would be frequently changing. Also, dots (.) might not be easily visible in the URLs. So keep it simple.
It is always good practice to keep backward compatibility so that if you change the API version, consumers get enough time to move to the next version.
Use of pagination is a must when you expose an API which might return huge data, and if proper load balancing is not done, the consumer might end up bringing down the service. We need to always keep in mind that the API design should be full proof and fool proof.
offset is recommended here. For example,
/products?limit=25&offset=50. It is also advised to keep a default limit and default offset.
It is also important to choose how your API responds. Most of the modern day applications should return JSON responses, unless you have a legacy app which still needs to get an XML response.
Use proper error messages
It is always good practice to keep a set of error messages the application sends and respond to that with proper id. For example, if you use Facebook graph APIs, in case of errors, it returns a message like this:
“message”: “(#803) Some of the aliases you requested do not exist: products”,
I have also seen some examples in which people return a URL with an error message, which tells you more about the error message and how to handle it as well.
Use of OpenAPI specifications
In order to keep all teams in your company abide by certain principles, use of OpenAPI specification can be useful. OpenAPI allows you to design your APIs first and share that with the consumers in an easier manner.
It is quite evident that if you want to communicate better, APIs are the way to go. But if they are designed badly then it might increase confusion. So put your best effort in designing well, and the rest is just the implementation.
Thanks for reading ❤
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#rest #api #web-development
I’ve been working with Restful APIs for some time now and one thing that I love to do is to talk about APIs.
So, today I will show you how to build an API using the API-First approach and Design First with OpenAPI Specification.
First thing first, if you don’t know what’s an API-First approach means, it would be nice you stop reading this and check the blog post that I wrote to the Farfetchs blog where I explain everything that you need to know to start an API using API-First.
Before you get your hands dirty, let’s prepare the ground and understand the use case that will be developed.
If you desire to reproduce the examples that will be shown here, you will need some of those items below.
To keep easy to understand, let’s use the Todo List App, it is a very common concept beyond the software development community.
#api #rest-api #openai #api-first-development #api-design #apis #restful-apis #restful-api
In this tutorial I will show you the fundamentals of designing a RESTful API specification by applying REST principles and best practices, then you’ll be ready to try my online tutorial: How to design a REST API with API Designer?
If you already know what is meant by API in the context of RESTful web services, you can skip to the next section. If not, read on.
The abbreviation API stands for Application Programming Interface this in itself, does not help us understand what it is, however in the context of web services, it can refer to one of two things:
In this post, I will use the first understanding of this term. Even though both are correct, the most technically relevant for this post is the first: an API is a contract for how software applications talk to each other.
The acronym REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It is an architectural style used to represent the transmission of data from one application component to another. In the context of web services, we are talking about the representation of resources (i.e. data) transferred over HTTP by calling a URI that represents the data and via an HTTP method that represents the action to perform against the given data.
RESTful API design is the activity of describing the behavior of a web service in terms of its data structures and the actions you allow other application components to perform on its data by the principles of REST. Those principles are covered later in this blog.
Imagine that you are an Architect (the kind the design building) and you set out to build an office block without a blueprint. You turn up on the first day with a truck full of bricks and some cement. What are the chances that you’ll be successful and build a structure that conforms to code and more importantly, doesn’t fall? It’s about zero. Without a blueprint the chance of failure is high.
The same approach applies to web service development. You need a blueprint, or more appropriately, an API specification. This is necessary to evaluate the API design and solicit feedback before even starting to build the implementation.
In addition to providing a specification for the web service’s development, an API contract serves to document its expected behavior, data types, and security requirements.
You should now be satisfied that API design is necessary for a RESTful web service, and should start to wonder how is the best approach to actually designing an API specification.
The tooling chosen by an API designer has substantial influence over the designer’s productivity. Highly productive tools such as the Anypoint API Designer from MuleSoft is perfect for designing APIs with OAS (swagger) or RAML.
#integration #api #rest #rest api #restful #api design #raml #rest api design
The REST acronym is defined as a “REpresentational State Transfer” and is designed to take advantage of existing HTTP protocols when used for Web APIs. It is very flexible in that it is not tied to resources or methods and has the ability to handle different calls and data formats. Because REST API is not constrained to an XML format like SOAP, it can return multiple other formats depending on what is needed. If a service adheres to this style, it is considered a “RESTful” application. REST allows components to access and manage functions within another application.
REST was initially defined in a dissertation by Roy Fielding’s twenty years ago. He proposed these standards as an alternative to SOAP (The Simple Object Access Protocol is a simple standard for accessing objects and exchanging structured messages within a distributed computing environment). REST (or RESTful) defines the general rules used to regulate the interactions between web apps utilizing the HTTP protocol for CRUD (create, retrieve, update, delete) operations.
An API (or Application Programming Interface) provides a method of interaction between two systems.
A RESTful API (or application program interface) uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE data following the REST standards. This allows two pieces of software to communicate with each other. In essence, REST API is a set of remote calls using standard methods to return data in a specific format.
The systems that interact in this manner can be very different. Each app may use a unique programming language, operating system, database, etc. So, how do we create a system that can easily communicate and understand other apps?? This is where the Rest API is used as an interaction system.
When using a RESTful API, we should determine in advance what resources we want to expose to the outside world. Typically, the RESTful API service is implemented, keeping the following ideas in mind:
The features of the REST API design style state:
For REST to fit this model, we must adhere to the following rules:
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