Web services have been around for almost as long as the HTTP protocol. However, since the introduction of cloud computing, they have become the de facto standard for allowing clients to interface with services and data.
HTTP status codes that are not correct, plain text answers, schemas that are not consistent, and verbs put into endpoints here are some guidelines, advice, and suggestions for creating outstanding REST APIs that will delight your users and developers.
Modern Headless WordPress Themes Learn the basics of HTTP
You must understand the basics of the HTTP protocol if you want to construct a well-designed REST API. However, here is a TLDR of HTTP applied to RESTful Design in terms of REST API design:
- The most frequent HTTP verbs (actions or methods) are GET, POST, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE.
- REST is resource-oriented, with each resource denoted by a URI: /library/.
- An endpoint is made of a verb and a URI, for example, ACCESS: /books/
- An action on a resource might be viewed as an endpoint. POST: /books/, for example, may suggest “create a new book.”
- Verbs correspond to CRUD activities at a high level: GET means Read, POST means Create, PUT and PATCH imply Update, and DELETE means Delete.
- The status of the response is determined by its status code: 1xx indicates information, 2xx indicates success, 3xx indicates redirection, 4xx indicates client errors, and 5xx indicates server problems.
Do not return plain text
Headless WordPress Themes Despite the fact that no REST architectural style imposes or mandates it, most REST APIs utilize JSON as the data format by default. Returning a response body containing a JSON-formatted String, on the other hand, isn’t adequate. The Content-Type header should still be specified. It has to be set to application/ JSON.
This is especially crucial when dealing with application/programmatic clients (for example, another service/API communicating with your API using the Python requests module), since some of them rely on this header to parse the answer appropriately.
Do not use verbs in URIs
If you have grasped the fundamentals, you’ll notice that putting verbs in the URI is not RESTful. Because the HTTP verbs should correctly reflect the activity being done on the resource, this is the situation.
Use plural nouns for resources
It might be difficult to know whether to use the plural or single form for resource nouns. Should we use the single /book/: id/ or the plural /books/: id/? My own recommendation is that you prefer the plural form. Why? Because it works well with a wide range of endpoints.
Return error details in the response
When an API server encounters an issue, it is useful (and encouraged) to provide error information in the JSON body to aid troubleshooting. It’s much better if you specify which fields were impacted by the issue.
Pay special attention to HTTP status codes
This is perhaps the most important thing you should take away from this article. Your API’s worst-case scenario is to send an error response with a status code of 200 OK. It’s just a case of poor semantics. Return a relevant HTTP status code that appropriately identifies the error type instead.
You should use HTTP status codes consistently
You should attempt to utilize HTTP status codes consistently after you’ve learned them. Customers shouldn’t have to worry about which method on which endpoint will return which status code under what conditions. As a result, be consistent, if you have to deviate from the norm, make sure you document it with large signs.
Handle trailing slashes gracefully
There isn’t much of a discussion over whether or not URIs should contain a trailing slash/. Simply pick one (i.e., with or without the trailing slash), adhere to it, and gently redirect clients if they use the incorrect standard.
It’s easy to become confused about whether a security problem in a REST API is related to Authentication or Authorization when dealing with security failures.
- Is it possible that the customer has not given authentication credentials? Was their SSO Token expired or invalid? The status code is 401 Unauthorized.
- Was the customer properly authenticated, yet they lacked the necessary rights or approval to access the resource? Forbidden 403 code.
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