Quick Overview:
When it comes to creating communication between two systems or applications, RESTful APIs are considered a top choice. But, while designing them, it’s recommended to follow the best practices. There are hundreds of practices published on online platforms, but to help you choose the right one, we have listed the top seven in this blog. Undergoing them will aid you in designing a powerful, secure, and high-performance Restful API.

Designing RESTful APIs

RESTful API provides an interface to the applications for connecting, interacting, and communicating with each other. It offers the capability to execute CRUD operations on data. But, if the design of your restful API doesn’t align with the required standards, it can lack performance, security, scalability, and other crucial factors.

However, you don’t need to fret. Here, we have listed the top seven best practices recommended for designing RESTful APIs. Following them can help you achieve business objectives in a better way. So, let’s get started.

Must To Follow Practices for Designing RESTful APIs

The following are the top best practices that a development team must consider when creating Restful API.

1: Use Nouns over Verbs

The REST principles are quite different from other APIs, which is why professionals recommend the use of nouns instead of verbs for endpoints. It helps to easily identify the resource on which action is being executed. Also, it supports aligning with the resources, providing a clear insight to the development team to understand API interactions.

Additionally, nouns shorten the endpoints and make them more consistent, reducing the complexity during development and maintenance.

For example, if you use a noun, the endpoint will look like “www.domain.com/Employees.” If you use a verb, the same endpoint will be “www.domain.com/getEmployees.” And as you can see, the one with the noun is more appropriate.

2: Execute CRUD with HTTP Methods

Whenever your RESTful API has to perform any of the CRUD operations, ensure that it always uses the HTTP methods. It makes the execution of all the operations, such as POST, GET, DELETE, and PUT, efficient. The information about the methods is included in the HTTP request, leading the application to process the correct data.

Furthermore, using HTTP with nouns lets you handle all the functions appropriately and let the CRUD operations perform their tasks as defined:

  • GET for retrieving information
  • POST for creating data
  • DELETE for removing the data
  • PUT for updating the data

3: HTTP Response Status is Mandatory

Status codes are a crucial aspect of Restful API. It helps test, maintain, and troubleshoot the API. Status codes help the developers understand whether the correct output is retrieved or if some error is being caused. There are five main status codes as below, and all should be implemented for your RESTful API project.

Response CategoryStatus Code
Information100 – 199
Successful200 – 299
Redirection300 – 399
Client Error400 – 499
Server Error500 – 599

When any of the status codes are returned, developers learn about the functioning API. For instance, if 200 is returned, the API is working fine. If 400 is returned, it means there’s some client-side error. Similarly, every status code has its own significance.

4: Security Must Be Priority

Nowadays, data breaches and cyber-attacks are potential risks that a developer must consider when designing a RESTful API. The selection of the right security mechanisms is the only solution to prevent all such illegal activities.

To safeguard the Restful API, you should consider implementing the following security methods.

  • Authentication must be configured to ensure that only a legitimate system is accessing the resourcing and performing CRUD operations.
  • The authorization should be implemented to restrict users according to their role, responsibility, and level in the hierarchy.
  • You should install an SSL/TLS certificate to create an encrypted channel for transferring the data between multiple systems through APIs.

5: Make API JSON Compatible

API development experts always prefer to use JSON to accept the response and provide one as an acknowledgment. You should also do the same for your RESTful API, as JSON offers the following leverages:

  • A lightweight architecture, improving efficiency and performance.
  • The server technologies consider JSON to be an easy-to-read and process language.
  • It’s compatible with all significant browsers, making communication more seamless.
  • The JSON messages are smaller and quick to parse, which makes it ideal for high-traffic applications.
  • It can carry both primary data and associated resources in a single API request, reducing resource utilization.

6: Implement API Versioning

Whenever you are designing restful API, versioning should be a part of the process. It helps with three primary operations: resolving bugs, adding new functionalities, and releasing a completely new update.

In addition, your versioning should have the correct version number in the URI path, query parameters must be used for API version detection, and the version number should be included in the API request. With all these practices, you can efficiently approach resolving an issue and make API compatible with multiple digital platforms, servers, and client devices.

7: Utilize Caching, Rate Limiting and Throttling

While designing RESTful API, you should ensure that it can handle an extensive load while retaining the performance. To do so, you can trust the three primary techniques, namely caching, rate limiting, and throttling.

Caching will help you with improving API speed by holding frequently accessed data in the specific cache storage. Due to this, the time required to interact with the database will be reduced, and operations will be completed rapidly.

Additionally, rate limiting and throttling will help you save resources and stop its exhaustion by a particular client. These mechanisms limit the users from making only a certain number of requests in a particular time period. As a result, resources are always available, ensuring the availability of API and the prevention of DDoS attacks.

Wrapping Up

Every project has its own Restful API requirement. But, there are some best practices, as listed above, that can be followed regardless of the project’s complexity and size. Implementing the logic according to practices will make your API more powerful. Its performance will be increased, security will be tightened, and troubleshooting will become as easy as possible.

Thus, the server and client-side interactions will be more streamlined than ever before using the best practices while designing RESTful API.

Jemin Desai

Verified Expert in Marketing Strategy and Brand Recognition

Jemin Desai is Chief Marketing Officer at Positiwise Software Pvt Ltd, he is responsible for creating and accelerating the company’s marketing strategy and brand recognition across the globe. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior marketing roles at the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

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