REST or RESTful is a structure or architectural style for designing an API. This structure stands for REpresentational State Transfer. To follow this structure, a RESTful API uses existing HTTP methods defined by the RFC 2616 protocol, such as:
  • GET to retrieve data
  • POST to create a new data entry
  • PUT to update an existing data entry
  • DELETE to remove a data entry
Following this structure allows the URL structure of the API to be explanatory to any developer, as they will understand what should be happening on each of those API options within the structure.
RESTful APIs should conform to a uniform interface, meaning that all resources are uniquely identifiable through a single URL and that the standard methods are used to manipulate these resources.
RESTful APIs must also conform to a stateless, client-server-based structure. This means that there is a clear separation between the Server, which contains the data, and the Client, which can contain the UI that an end-user will use. Stateless means that each request has a defined purpose and that nothing is saved between requests that could change the output.
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