Before understanding what REST API is, we need to understand these two words separately. First of all we need to understand what REST is?
REST stands for Representational State Transfer. It depends on a client server, stateless, cache able communications protocol and uses HTTP protocol in all cases. It has lower barriers to entry, has a lightweight approach to things and is a good performer.
REST is an architecture style for designing networked applications. It uses HTTP to make calls between machines rather than using complex mechanisms. REST uses HTTP to Create, Read, Update, Delete operations (CRUD).
Now the next we need to know is about API. API stands for Application Programming Interface. It can be company’s greatest asset. It is intuitive (easy to learn), documented and opinionated (camel case, Ids).
As of now we have understood the meaning of REST and API separately. Now we need to understand what REST API is. As per the definition of Wikipedia REST API is “Web services APIs that adhere to the REST architectural constraints are called RESTful APIs. HTTP based RESTful APIs are defined with these aspects: base URI, has an internet media type for data, standard HTTP methods, and hyperlinks to references.
To List Some Of The Advantages:
- It is simple.
- High load can be handled through HTTP cache and proxy server.
- Complex application can be organised into simple resources.
- It makes easy for a new client to use other’s application, even if it wasn’t designed specifically for it.
- It is cleaner and easier to understand and discover.
- While synchronizing data with website, it is easier to use REST as it depends heavily on code.
- Provides ubiquitous access by using standard HTTP method call-outs to make requests and retrieve information.
- Provides standards-based security by utilizing the OAuth protocol for authenticating your REST calls.
- User can gain access to the same data model and standard objects as those in SOAP-based Web services.
- It provides flexible formats by serializing data in either the XML or JSON format.
We hope it becomes easier to understand what REST API is, its benefits and use at the same time.
Although we have both SOAP and REST in our toolbox, – You want to improve performance by caching web service request results at some point between the service and the consumer.
Caching on the URI of a service is very easy using REST API.