What is a RESTful API?

With all the hype surrounding RESTful web services, you’d think it was suddenly a new concept that shot forth on the scene only a year or two ago. The truth is, the concepts underlying RESTful APIs are as old as the web and are best understood from that perspective. Explore this article and know more about RESTful API and how it works.


REST technology is usually preferred as more robust Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) technology because REST leverages less bandwidth, making it more suitable for the internet usage. An API for a website is the code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other. The API spells out the proper way for a developer to write a program requesting all the services from an operating system or other application.

The REST is used by browsers can be thought as the language of the internet. As cloud usage is on the rise, APIs are emerging to expose web services. REST is a logical choice for building APIs that allows the users to connect and interact with cloud services. RESTful APIs are used by the sites such as Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

How RESTful APIs works

A RESTful API breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules. Each module addresses a particular underlying part of the transaction. This modularity provides developers with a lot of flexibility, but it can also be challenging for developers to design from scratch. Presently, the models provided by Amazon Simple Storage Service, Cloud Data Management Interface, and OpenStack Swift are the most popular.

A RESTful API explicitly takes advantage of HTTP methodologies defined by the RFC 2616 protocol. They use GET to retrieve a resource, PUT to change the state or to update a resource, which can be an object, file or a block, POST to create the resource, and DELETE to remove it.

With REST, networked components are a resource you request to access a black box whose implementation details are unclear. The presumption is that all calls are stateless; nothing can be retained by the RESTful service between executions.

As, the calls are stateless, REST is useful in cloud applications. Stateless components can be freely redeployed if something fails, and they can scale to accommodate load changes. This is because any request can be directed to any instance of component. That makes REST preferred for web use, but the RESTful model is also helpful in cloud services because binding to a service through an API is a matter of controlling how the URL is decoded. Cloud computing and micro services are almost certain to make RESTful API design the rule in the future.

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