REST API is one of the most flexible and beneficial web service APIs. Due to its simplicity, versatility, and compatibility, REST API can seamlessly work with several kinds of data and support interface with various applications. Beginning with what REST API is, we’ll shed light on how an API integration solution can help enterprises bridge the data-to-insights gap effectively.
What Is REST API?
REST (also called RESTful) is the acronym for Representational State Transfer. It’s a kind of application programming interface (API) that helps web service applications communicate with one another.
Like all other APIs, REST also helps exchange data between users and apps. For instance, when you log into a site or access an application on your smartphone, an API assists your client server to connect with the host server. You can think of APIs as the mediators that send your requests to the server and return the server’s response to you.
With REST API integration, the applications aren’t tightly coupled. Every application is unacquainted with the definitions and data formats being used by the other application. The four commonly used HTTP methods supported by REST APIs are:
- GET – To request data from a server
- POST- To send data from a client to the server
- PUT – To update current info on the server
- DELETE – To delete info on the server
The biggest benefit of a REST solution API is that it uses protocols like HTTP. This means you don’t need any additional software to create requests. However, there are six constraints that form the foundation of RESTful web services. These include:
- Client-Server – The client and the server should be discrete from one another, allowing to be evolved independently.
- Stateless – REST APIs are stateless, meaning that each request must provide details to the server to process the request as the server doesn’t keep a record of previous requests. This makes requests independent of each other.
- Cache – Due to statelessness, a REST API should be designed for cacheable data. This means that the data can be reused by the web browser instead of making numerous calls to the server.
- Uniform interface – A uniform interface ensures applications to independently evolve without tightly coupling its services or models to the API layer itself.
- Layered system – There are various layers of REST API architecture that work together to form a hierarchy, creating a more scalable and flexible application.
- Code on Demand – It allows for code or applets to be transferred by means of the API for in-application use.
The Role Of APIs In Enterprise Data Integration
APIs have been well-received by the data community as they have addressed performance issues and limitations from older technologies like EDI. REST APIs simplify the way business analysts and developers handle data, serving as a bridge to connect workflows, programs, and data together. Through REST API integration, enterprises can exponentially increase the speed of data movement without compromising the integrity and security of their information assets.
The key trend in data management nowadays is the move toward cloud integration. Many businesses are making use of cloud-based systems to manage their enterprise data. They need a faster, more secure way to connect to their key business data that has been stored on third-party cloud data centers. Using REST APIs, users can easily make requests to fetch data in near real-time and utilize it for data-driven decision-making.
An API management solution streamlines data access by identifying the communication protocol for the software constituents. Additionally, third-party data integration tools support the use of APIs to procure information. You can use APIs to establish connections with other sources and run queries to bring in and process data for creating a single source of truth and data dashboards.
For instance, the intuitive REST API Browser in Astera Centerprise allows you to simplify API integration by empowering in-house enterprise systems to communicate with external applications securely. It supports connectivity to popular CRMs, databases, and ERP solutions through single-step verification to make HTTP calls. Moreover, it decouples data from the origination point to make it useable and independent from the source system.
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