This tutorial focuses on creating a set of REST APIs for a Todo application. Keep in mind that I did not touch the Database part here – I will cover that in another article (and once I do I will link to it here).
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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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.
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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.
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