REST API – Overview and Design Principles


REST APIs, or Representational State Transfer services, have become more popular in recent years. A REST API is a way of returning structured data from a website or application. Typically, the structured data is available in a readable JSON or XML format.

This will provide more efficient and flexible services when working with different technology stacks. A REST API delivers a service by accepting requests to its root URL and returning responses. The services are stateless and cacheable.

What is REST API?

The idea behind a RESTful API is that it provides a way for computer programs to talk to one another. When you send a request to a REST API, the client program interprets the request as if it was coming from the right place, and gives you back the results that you requested.

The server doesn’t need to know any information about you or your program—it just needs to know what resources are available in the world and how they relate to one another. The main thing to remember about REST APIs is that they don’t require authentication.

REST Design Principles

Representational state transfer is a method that helps you provide a better user experience by reducing the cognitive load involved in retrieving data. Both web apps and mobile applications make use of the REST method. The aim is to increase the speed at which users can get information and make decisions.

The REST principles are simple. The core principles of REST have been around for decades and they still stand for reliable, consistent, and easily understood interfaces for communicating with services. The RESTful API specification defines protocols that allow applications to be built that use these principles as their architectural model and easily consume other applications from any firm or service provider with the same interface.

  • Uniform Interface

Uniformity of interface allows users to understand and use a system efficiently with minimal training or supervision. Interface consistency is important to all computer users, even if they have little interest in creating user interfaces.

  • Client-server Decoupling

In REST-based architecture, the client and server applications are completely independent of each other. The API is intended to be consumed by machines and not humans. You do not have to agonize about what format the server can handle, just send an HTTP request.

  • Statelessness

REST APIs have strict constraints regarding the use of server-side sessions. This design pattern focuses on increasing the scalability of a REST API without sacrificing maintainability.

  • Cacheability

Generally, a web page’s client-side resources are more static than its server-side resources. Therefore, you should use a caching mechanism. This will speed up how quickly your site loads and will improve your server’s scalability.

  • Layered System Architecture

REST is an approach to client-side web application programming that emphasizes readability and maintainability. Layered systems allow multiple clients to access data in a shared environment.

The client can issue requests to a service layer that retrieves the appropriate information from an underlying database or returns the correct information from an authoritative source.

The database services are intended to be consumed by all clients; independent applications that access the database do not necessarily need to know the implementation details of the actual database engine they are using.

How Does a REST API Work?

REST APIs are the bridge between the content on your website and the content on other platforms. These include mobile apps, social media, or anything else that you want to connect with your site. REST stands for Representational State Transfer, which simply means that an API will transfer data between entities in a way that’s easy to understand.

REST APIs are everywhere these days. A majority of the services we use every day interact with us via a RESTful API. In fact, many companies build applications on top of third-party REST APIs without even knowing it.

A REST API is a set of instructions and data exchanged over the internet using the HTTP protocol. The HTTP protocol allows different applications to collaborate without the need to know anything about each other.

When you make a request to a REST API, the response will typically contain a series of instructions that facilitate the processing of the requested information.

REST APIs allow you to create, update, delete, and retrieve information. There are different kinds of APIs, but a RESTful API uses HTTP requests instead of proprietary calls to access resource data. You use:

  • GET requests to retrieve records,
  • POST requests to create them,
  • PUT requests to update them, and
  • DELETE requests to delete them.

The core concept of REST is consistency: every call to the API receives the same result regardless of how it’s executed (for example, GET /users return the same data regardless of whether the user is authenticated or not). This ensures that a request to retrieve a single piece of data can be fulfilled regardless of how it was delivered.


Simplify the integration of data from APIs into applications. The result is a powerful and scalable architecture resulting in a simpler development and deployment process, faster time to market, and more robust applications.

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