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RESTful API definition

A RESTful API is an interface that allows two computer systems to communicate and exchange information safely. It’s based on the REST (Representational State Transfer) software architecture, which focuses on helping systems communicate efficiently and securely. RESTful APIs are used in countless ways — from managing inventory to analyzing social media engagement.

See also: API attack, HTTP

How does RESTful API work?

  • The client (like a web browser or a mobile app) sends a request to the server using standard HTTP methods like GET, POST, PUT, or DELETE.
  • The server receives the request and processes it based on the method and the data included. It may fetch data, update records, or perform other actions (like creating payslips).
  • After processing the request, the server sends a response back to the client. This response may include the requested data or tell the client that the operation was successful.
  • The client receives the response and can then display the data to the user or take appropriate action based on the response.

Where are RESTful APIs used?

  • Businesses use RESTful APIs to integrate with third-party services (such as payment processors and email marketing platforms).
  • Social media sites use RESTful APIs to allow developers to integrate features like posting updates, fetching user information, and analyzing data.
  • E-commerce apps use RESTful APIs to manage product catalogs, process orders, and handle payments.
  • Mobile apps often use RESTful APIs to fetch news articles, send push notifications, or synchronize data with cloud storage services.
  • IoT devices (e.g., phones and laptops) communicate with cloud platforms through RESTful APIs.