REST API is an acronym that stands for Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interface. REST APIs are used to create "web services" in HTTP requests, which provide data between client and server applications. This article will cover some of the basics of REST APIs and will also walk you through making a basic API using Python.
Table of Contents
- What Is an API?
- Why Use Rest API?
- What Is Python?
- Why Learn Rest API with Python?
- Why Python Is a Good Language for Developing Rest API
- How to Create a Simple API with Python.
- Benefits of Using Rest APIs
- What Is a Rest API Call?
- Building a Simple Rest API in Python, Step by Step:
- How Xplenty Can Help You
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What Is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a collection of functions and procedures that enable communication between various software programs, allowing developers to "plugin" pre-existing code written by other developers into their application or website. This will enable you to access data without creating your system from scratch: all you need is an understanding of how it works. In the case of REST APIs, this usually includes requests over web services such as GET or POST.
Why Use Rest API?
REST APIs are quickly becoming the standard for communicating between applications, as they have many advantages over other methods. One of these is that REST APIs are usually accessed via a URL - making it easy to remember and send requests from anywhere with an internet connection. Another advantage is that you can access data without having to worry about how it gets there: all you need to know is what information you want and where it's kept on the server-side. People prefer REST API. After all, it makes sense for multiple platforms because it's built on top of an existing protocol (TCP/IP). This means that it can easily be used for compatibility across various systems.
What Is Python?
Python is a programming language that lets you work quickly and efficiently. It's an open-source, object-oriented programming language created in 1991, making it one of the oldest languages. Python has become increasingly popular over the past few years due to its excellent documentation, active community support, and ease of use.
Why Learn Rest API with Python?
While there are many methods for writing REST APIs, including Ruby (which uses web services built into Rails), PHP, or Java, among others - learning how to make them using Python is valuable since it can be used anywhere from web pages to desktop applications. JSON and XML are also natively supported in Python, making data transfer even faster.
Why Python Is a Good Language for Developing Rest API
Python is considered a beginner-friendly language and was named Programming Language of the Year in 2015. This means that it has an excellent community base with experienced teachers available to help you learn Python. It's also easy to write code for beginners since there are no complex rules when writing like other languages (i.e., C++). This means you can focus on learning the language itself rather than worrying about more difficult syntax.
How to Create Simple Rest API with Python.
Python is an object-oriented programming language, which means it's designed around creating objects. Because of this, Python programs are usually composed of many small modules that interact with each other to form the whole program. This makes it easy for developers to read and maintain your code and work on different parts independently if necessary - allowing even non-technical people to contribute in some areas.
REST APIs use web services to communicate between client applications and server-side software.
Web Services consist of three main components:
- URL addressable resources
- Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI)
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS)
URL addressable resources: all URLs follow a similar pattern, which identifies the type of request and path to take for that resource (i.e., GET /user/list ). This information is stored in another file called "URLs" using regular expressions.
Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): these are used to identify specific web services endpoints such as GET, POST, or DELETE requests along with their respective paths ( GET /webservice/getUserList ) and bodies ( POST /webservice ). It's necessary to have this so your program knows precisely how to handle each request - making them unique for every call.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS): this is how requests are sent between the server and client.
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Benefits of Using Rest APIs
There are many benefits to using REST APIs, which include:
Faster development time
REST APIs are typically much faster to develop than other software since it takes advantage of existing protocols and formats between devices.
Apps that use web services are not limited to specific platforms or technologies, which means they're easy to implement in just about anything from mobile applications, websites, or desktop programs. This also allows you to easily reuse code when creating new projects without worrying about compatibility issues.
If you want to expand your program into different platforms (e.g., web browser vs. mobile), this will be easier with a RESTful design system because all devices use internet protocols based on TCP/IP. This means developers don't have to worry about how their communications work, as long as they follow these rules. It's also possible to make changes without breaking existing code by adding new features or altering existing ones.
Another reason for their scalability lies with how quickly they process requests. Since there's no need to wait until all data has been received before making an additional call (as you would have to do with SOAP), this dramatically speeds up performance by allowing earlier responses - which saves both processing power and time. It will also enable queries from multiple sources using one response. If something isn't stored correctly or updated correctly, it will still display what was meant to be shown originally.
What Is a Rest API Call?
REST API calls are how your application communicates with a program. For this reason, it's essential to understand what they look like and how you can use them for your purposes before creating an API yourself. As mentioned above, REST APIs consist of three main components: URL addressable resources, Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS). So when making a call, each request must follow one of these patterns - depending on whether or not you're using GET, POST, or PUT requests.
This will return the requested resource in a format that your program can read and use. You'll need to make sure you specify which part of the URL identifies this since it may contain any number of items (e.g., GET /user/list ).
Like GET requests, except rather than return data, it will update the resource you specify (e.g., PUT /user/address ).
Post is mostly used for adding or updating information on the web service endpoints (i.e., web services). It's important to note how these differ from GET requests because they alter existing resources instead of just reading them. For example, POST /web service/getUserList
Delete is used when wanting to remove data from the server. Like PUT requests, these are also authenticated with an API key to avoid unauthorized access of resources on your web service endpoints (i.e., web services).
Building a Simple Rest API With Python, Step by Step:
A simple REST API can be built using these few basic steps:
- Create a directory.
- Download and install Flask (but you can use any other Python web framework if it suits your needs).
- Write Python code to handle the requests sent by the API based on what actions were performed. This is often done through JSON with APIs, but not always necessary.
- Create endpoint URLs for each action that will be requested and then set up how they're accessed (e.g., GET /user/:id ).
- Start the server process for this to work correctly - which should be included as part of your main program file after everything else has been added or altered from those basic steps above. You may also want to add more details about authentication keys here, so users who are accessing this, know how to authenticate themselves properly.
When creating a REST API for your purposes, you might also want to consider adding:
- Documentation for the API as a whole to help others understand what they can do with it and how,
- A version number so that if something changes, you'll be able to update their calls at once without worrying about issues arising from using an older code,
- An access token of some kind to protect your web service endpoints (i.e., web services) by requiring authentication before making any requests or updates
- Rate limiting will allow users only specific amounts of access until more tokens are purchased through subscriptions. If needed, this can also provide sub-limits on each plan so different customers can pay for varying usage levels depending on their needs. This is always good practice for larger companies but can also help protect your server from being overloaded with too many requests.
How Xplenty Can Help You
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Using our Rest API component, Xplenty can help you connect to any RESTful APIs and easily pull information from a wide range of sources. You can then use this data for analysis, visualization, or keeping it part of your core business intelligence system. By integrating all your data sources in one place, your business can work smarter and grow faster. To find out how Xplenty can help with your business, schedule a demo of our platform through the link here.