- What is a REST API?
- Who or what interacts with REST APIs?
- Anatomy of a REST request
- HTTP status messages
- Request/response pairs
- GET, POST, and DELETE
Skill Level Beginner
- Open up your favorite social media app on your phone, read the latest news on your tablet, search for travel deals on your computer, or watch your favorite show through a streaming service. What do all these things have in common? They're pulling information from the internet using REST APIs. So what does that mean? That's what you'll learn in this course and here is a small preview. Take your average web-based application, like a social media site. When you open it in your computer, you see a header with a bunch of navigation options, some sidebars with information, and a stream.
That stream updates continuously as you scroll down, always showing you more content. Now, here's how that works on the backend. The website itself is just a framework of templates for the application. It provides the physical header or the sidebars, the main content area, and the skeleton for posts to be displayed, but no actual content. When you visit the site, this entire framework is downloaded and starts running in your browser and it sends automated requests to the representational state transfer application programming interface, or REST API, for that service.
Hey, can you give me the 50 latest posts from my stream? The REST API responds by sending a data package with just the posts themselves, and the framework pulls the bits and pieces out and places them in the correct slots in the templates. Scroll to the end of the list and another REST request is sent, received, and parsed. Use your smartphone and the same REST request is sent, received, and parsed in an application dedicated to your particular operating system.
In a nutshell, REST APIs allow us to fully separate the presentation of content from the content itself, and allows you and me to build lightning fast applications that consume data rather than entire pages, which, in turn, makes for faster solutions that work everywhere and are ready for whatever we build in the future. Knowing how these REST APIs work and how to work with them is the key to building powerful websites and web-based applications. Sound exciting? I'm here to show you how to get it right, so let's get cracking.