REST API Concepts

In this article, you will understand the REST API Concepts. Before understanding REST API Concepts, first you need to know what is basically an API?

An API or Application Programming Interface is an interface between software applications that allows them to communicate. API may represent a set of classes that help us build a software application. Therefore, we can say that APIs make it possible to communicate the software components.

REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It is basically an architectural style. According to Roy Fielding, the REST API refers to a set of design constraints that facilitate integration and lead to the development of efficient, reliable, and scalable systems.

To further emphasize, we can say that the REST API is a data architecture design methodology. It enables the generation of predictable and consistent output with the help of a set of standard methods called Verbs. It returns a standardized structured data in the form of JSON OR XML that we call as the resources.

Precisely, REST ensures the creation of an object of the data that a client requests. Therefore, the REpresentational State Transfer is basically a description of the transaction between representation of states. These state representations are transferred in the form of objects between the two machines.

Understanding REST API

To further elaborate on this concept, let us consider an example of users visiting a website. The web page that a user browses consists of not only the text, but also the media elements like images, video, stylesheets, and the javascript. Hence, whenever the server receives a request for a web page, it responds by returning all the necessary files. For each new visit to a page, all the necessary documents are required. As a result, this entire process becomes highly resource-intensive.

Now, suppose that the application sends a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) Request for a web resource. The URI request represents the next state of the application. This next state represents the data that will make the current view and it will be transferred as an object.

Therefore, only a URI request is sent whenever the user navigates from one page to another. This Representation State is transferred in the form of objects and allows the user to perform the desired operations such as View, Create, Update and Delete data on a database.

Hence, only the object representing the next state is transferred instead of transferring the complete set of files. This is the REST API Concept and it is the basis of creating Single Page Application and native applications for mobile devices.

Summary

REST API refers to a set of features that can be incorporated while developing software. It enables the interaction between different software components. Additionally, the REST API Concept allows the integration of diverse applications including the mobile applications as well as the Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications.

To sum up, the REST API enables creation of efficient and scalable software architecture through URI requests.

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