REST API Handbook

REST (Representational State Transfer) is a popular architectural style for building web services. RESTful APIs use HTTP requests to POST (create), PUT (update), GET (read), and DELETE (delete) data.

Here are some key concepts to understand when building a REST API:

  1. Endpoints: Each unique URL that represents a resource is called an endpoint. For example, a collection of users could be represented by the endpoint /users.
  2. HTTP Methods: REST APIs use different HTTP methods (also known as verbs) to perform different actions. For example, the GET method is used to retrieve data, while the POST method is used to create a new resource.
  3. Status Codes: REST APIs return status codes to indicate the success or failure of a request. Some common status codes include 200 OK (success), 201 Created (resource created), 404 Not Found (resource not found), and 500 Internal Server Error (server error).
  4. Payload: The data sent to or received from a REST API is called the payload. The payload can be in the form of JSON, XML, or other formats.
  5. Authentication and Authorization: REST APIs typically use some form of authentication and authorization to ensure that clients have access to the resources they request. OAuth, JSON Web Tokens (JWT), and Basic Authentication are some of the most commonly used methods for authentication and authorization.
  6. Versioning: REST APIs should be versioned to ensure that clients are using the correct version of the API. This can be done by including the version number in the URL, for example, /api/v1/users.
  7. Caching: REST APIs should support caching to improve performance and reduce the load on the server. Caching can be achieved by including cache control headers in the response.

These are some of the basic concepts you should understand when building a REST API. There are many more details to consider, including security, error handling, and documentation.