ST APIs are an example of an API development architecture increasingly used within companies, partly due to the separation between client and server, the process scalability and reliability, and the low number of resources required by the system. What is a REST API and what architecture examples are available to companies?
What can an API offer businesses?
What is a REST API?
The API REST are APIs based on REST (Representational State Transfer), an architectural and methodological style system for internet services. Although not formally a standard or protocol, REST is one of the most widely used architectural boundaries in Application Programming Interface.
A REST API is an API that adapts to the limits of the REST architecture and allows integration with RESTful web services. RESTful is a form of manipulation of digital resources, for example, the information associated with a user account.
The rules of a REST architecture include:
- Uniform interface. The interface is resource-based, the inside of the database is transparent to the client, and the resource representation is editable (with permissions). Because there is a single Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) per resource, it is more reliable.
- Stateless petitions. Each request must include all the information needed to process it.
- Cacheable. Clients can cache server responses if so enabled. By saving requests, performance is increased.
- Separation between client and server. The interface acts as a link between client and server because client and server applications must be completely independent of each other.
- Layer system. The client does not know if they are connected to the server or to an intermediary (because it is irrelevant).
Find some examples of REST APIs
There are many examples of REST APIs available in the API ecosystem, many of them geared toward the business world. Most social networks, code repositories and chatbots have these integration mechanisms between applications.
Google Translate, DeepL
Google Translate is one of the most widely used translation apps in the world. DeepL, although less known, is higher quality. The good news is that both have REST APIs to be able to embed them within a website, an app or a service. This is key in companies with customers in countries with another language.
Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp (META)
These social networks have several REST APIs for you to recover user accounts, photos or tags on Instagram. You can also read public likes, generate tables with temporary markers or use the API to create relationship maps, a really useful tool in sociological studies or studies on media bubbles on Instagram and Facebook.
On WhatsApp Business you use the API to generate customer records. The three META APIs are useful for contacting customers or using platforms that allow registration through META services. The social network Twitter also has an API.
With the API REST de GitHub you can for example track user activity, track problems or create repositories. Perhaps one of the strengths of this repository is how the community has put together usage guides for APIs, including a quick start guide. Since this code reserve is one of the largest on the planet, it should be monitored from a business point of view.
Wikipedia’s REST API can be particularly useful for companies of a certain size, as it is possible to automate submissions of page updates, among other uses. You can be informed about the impact of your brand within the great encyclopedia, and it is very interesting to correct errors.
There are many companies that need weather forecast information (urban distribution to predict traffic jams, outdoor adventure companies, restaurants with terraces). Weatherstack has REST APIs for medium-term forecasting, or real-time readings.
Examples of REST API commands
When we talk about examples of REST API commands, one of the best open guides is offered by IBM in its UrbanCode Deploy section. On this website, you find basic information, tutorials and libraries with examples of:
- Running REST commands in process steps
- Running REST commands in the command-line interface
- Running REST commands in Java
- Running REST commands in Python
- Running REST commands in a Groovy script
Platforms and systems such as Microsoft, AWS or Google have their own repository, libraries, tutorials and REST API documentation, with examples.
REST API FAQs
Often, API environments present some complexities and raise questions from users. Below are the most frequently asked questions.
How does RESTful work?
RESTful uses HTTP methods like GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE to transmit web services over the HTTP protocol. In other words, it is a system, with its own methodology, for sending information through APIs. HTTP is how the client and server communicate.
HTTP Methods that support REST
- GET. Requests a resource in the request URL. Used to consult information.
- POST. Sends information to the service for processing, creating a new record.
- PUT. Updates an existing record or resource.
- PATCH. Like PUT, but allows you to update only a fraction of the record.
- DELETE. Deletes an existing record.
- HEAD. Gets information from a record.
What languages are used in REST APIs?
The languages used in REST are primarily JSON and XML, although it supports any language: Java, Python, C#, Kotlin, etc.
Differences between SOAP and REST
Both are web services, although SOAP is a protocol. REST is an architectural style. SOAP works with XML over HTTP and SMTP. RESTful uses HTML. RedHat has an entry on this difference.
REST API is one of the most widely used API architectures on the strength of its advantages over other ways of integrating systems. That is why the examples of REST APIs are increasingly numerous and used within the business world. Both companies that already make use of APIs and companies that expect to use these tools should keep this possibility in mind.