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APIs: A Strategy Guide by Dan Woods, Greg Brail, Daniel Jacobson

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Technical Considerations for API Design

This section describes some philosophical and technical design issues that have broad implications for the way your API will operate.

REST

Various forms of REST, or Representational State Transfer, are currently the preferred style for writing APIs. The REST style was developed as a PhD dissertation by Roy Fielding, who was one of the authors of the HTTP protocol.

In essence, Fielding proposed using HTTP for inter-computer communications. Consequently, REST is based on the HTTP standard. Using the building blocks of HTTP, it divides the namespace into a set of “resources” based on unique URI patterns and uses the standard HTTP verbs—GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE—to map operations on top of those resources. These standard HTTP verbs map to the verbs create, read, update, and delete, familiar to generations of programmers as CRUD.

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