REST API is one of the most commonly used APIs in the web development community. There is only a fine line that differentiates REST vs RESTful APIs. This topic is a must-know for all the developers in this community to understand the modern state of client/server architecture. Considering the debate on REST vs RESTful APIs, it can be stated that “REST is the noun while RESTful is the adjective”.

A REST API is an application programming interface in which requests are made over a network using HTTP, and responses are sent back in the form of data, while a RESTful API is a type of REST API that follows a set of constraints and conventions that make it easier to use.

In this blog, you will understand the basic and key differences in the REST vs RESTful battle. The CRUD operations and Endpoints of REST RESTful APIs will be explained.

Basic Differences between REST vs RESTful API

In the context of REST vs RESTful API, the basic differences between them are elaborated in the tables below.

AttributesREST APIRESTful API
DefinitionsIt is used to develop APIs which enable interaction between the client and the server. It should be used to get a piece of data when the user connects any link to the particular URL.It is a web application that follows the REST infrastructure, which provides interoperability between different systems on the entire network.
Web servicesThe working of the URL is based on request and response.The working of RESTful is completely based on REST applications.
Data formatThe data format of REST is based on HTTP.The data format of RESTful is based on JSON, HTTP, and Text.
AdaptabilityIt is highly adaptable and user-friendly to all business enterprises and IT.It is too flexible when compared to RESTLESS web services.
ProtocolThe protocol is strong, and it inherits many security measures, which are built-in architecture layers.It is multi-layer and has a transport protocol which makes the system less secure when compared with REST.
BandwidthConsumes only minimum bandwidth.Consumes less bandwidth.
Table Source: educba
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Key Differences between REST vs RESTful API

These are the key difference between REST vs RESTful API.

REST vs RESTful: Architecture

Though the architecture of both REST and RESTful API is similar, they vary with a slight difference. The REST API follows all the rules of the REST Architecture. It has a client-server, stateless, cacheable, layer system with a uniform interface, whereas the RESTful web applications have all the features of the REST architecture with unique additional features.

The REST API has a separate system to handle application information. One of the rest api rules is to use standard HTTP methods, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE, to perform operations on resources identified by URLs.

REST vs RESTful: Cache Ability

The REST API exhibits cache ability as cacheable and not cacheable. This provides the clients and infrastructure an opportunity to store when it is possible. This is to increase the performance of the system. Whenever the client fails to use stored data, the not cacheable data gets displaced. In RESTful API, the constant state and cacheable information can be accessed by clients anytime anywhere.

REST vs RESTful: Stability

In REST API, the client has to manage all the application stages because the REST server does not maintain any kind of client state. You need to provide all the necessary data to process the request REST API. When there is any change in the RESTful APIs, it is essential for the client to revert back to the storage system. The exchange of data and state between the client and server establishes the stability of the REST systems. In RESTful services, the data implementation is hidden while the other data is not concealed.

REST vs RESTful: Multi-Layered Architecture

The constraint in REST, that the system’s devices are not able to view beyond the layer. This is overcome by combining the load balancers and some proxy to elevate the performance and security of the system. In the case of RESTful API, the boundaries are strong the separation between them is clear. This is because the layered architecture built over the client-server has stateless limits. The data flow across the boundaries is managed by the client based on their requirement. It is the responsibility of the client to either display or manipulates the data.

REST vs RESTful: Undeviating Interface

It is a very crucial requirement to have an undeviated interface. This undeviated interface between systems present in REST architecture acts as a unique feature to segregate REST architecture from other independent panache. Both REST services handle data as a resource with a unique and individual namespace.

REST vs RESTful: Remote Procedure Call on Web Services

When the service is not in REST, it automatically searches for URI working or HTTP verb services. This is called the uniform set of resources and denotes the structural representation of the REST data. This separation between every layer is known as REST. These are also known as remote procedure calls. The query on HTTP POST and HTTP GET with a URL link is used to post a file and also configure its content. REST RESTful APIs use services like PUT, DELETE, GET, POST, and PATCH to perform the HTTP actions.

REST vs. RESTful APIs: Consistent User Interface

One of the most important aspects of REST applications is a consistent user interface. This is what mostly distinguishes REST designs from other network-based patterns. These APIs effectively maintain a consistent interface across several devices.

In terms of managing data as resources, both RESTful and REST systems use a different and unique namespace.

RPC over HTTP versus RESTful

When someone claims a service “isn’t REST,” they are usually referring to its URIs or how it employs HTTP verbs. They are referring to REST’s presentation of data as a consistent collection of resources.

This issue is frequently described as one between remote procedure calls (RPC) and REST. Consider a web service that lists, adds, and removes products from an e-commerce inventory.

In one variant, we query a single URL via HTTP GETs or POSTs.  You interact with the service by POSTing a document and specifying the contents.

Add new things using a POST with a NewItem.

POST /inventory HTTP/1.1

{
    "NewItem": {
          "name": "new item",
          "price": "9.99",
          "id": "1001"
      }
}

Query for items using a POST and ItemRequest:

POST /inventory HTTP/1.1

{
    "ItemRequest": {
          "id": "1001"
      }
}

Some implementations also accept a request for a new item with a get.

POST /inventory?id=1001 HTTP/1.1

We may also update or delete objects using a POST, ItemDelete, or ItemUpdate.

POST /inventory HTTP/1.1

{
    "ItemDelete": {
          "id": "1001"
      }
}

This is not REST. We are not exchanging the condition of resources. We’re invoking a function using JSON or URL parameters. A URI is assigned to each item in an inventory by a RESTful service. So, adding a new item would appear similar to the example above.

POST /item HTTP/1.1

{
    "Item": {
          "name": "new item",
          "price": "9.99",
          "id": "1001"
      }
}  

But the similarities end there. Retrieving an item is always a GET:

GET /item/1001 HTTP/1.1 

Deleting is a DELETE:

DELETE /item/1001 HTTP/1.1 

Modifying an item is a PUT:

POST /inventory HTTP/1.1
{
    "Item": {
          "name": "new item",
          "price": "7.99",
          "id": "1001"
      }
}    

The difference is significant. REST operations employ unique HTTP actions. These verbs relate exactly to the activity on the data. GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and PATCH all have unique contracts. Most well-designed REST APIs also provide particular HTTP codes based on the results of the request. The key aspect is that URIs act on data rather than distant methods.

CRUD Operations of REST RESTful APIs

REST vs RESTful: CRUD Operations
Image Source: railsbridge

CRUD is an acronym for Create, Read, Update, and Delete commands. These four major functions guide software developers to interact with databases. Despite its origin from databases, it now maps the design principle of dynamic applications like HTTP, SQL, and DDS. CRUD operations are cyclic rather than being an architectural system. Below are tasks performed by CRUD commands:

  • Create: is a procedure that generates new records.
  • Read: is a procedure used to read/retrieve data based on desired input parameters.
  • Update: This is a procedure used to modify records (without overwriting).
  • Delete: is a procedure used to remove (one or more) entries entirely.

Endpoints of REST RESTful APIs

API executes an operation using ‘requests’ and ‘responses.’ If APIs send a ‘request’ information from a web application or web server, it will receive a ‘response.’ The location where APIs send requests or where resources live are endpoints. With REST APIs, an endpoint is one end of a communication channel. Each endpoint is a location where REST APIs can access the resources needed to carry out a function.

The Future of REST RESTful API

According to the stats, it is said that 82% of the APIs were RESTful which are OpenAPI or Swagger and 21% were RESTful with not OpenAPI. There is only a very slight drop in the use of REST APIs in Public APIs. GraphQL is a close competitor of REST RESTful APIs. These APIs will always stay supreme and will not be directly affected by other market competitors.

What are the golden rules and best practices for REST APIs?

  • Instead of verbs, use nouns to express URLs.
  • Use the sound version.
  • Utilize HTTP status codes.
  • Manage mistakes clearly.
  • Use SSL Security.
  • Use plural naming conventions wherever possible.

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Before wrapping up, let’s cover some basics.

What is a Rest API ?

Source

Some of the important concepts that REST APIs follow include:

  • Client-server – REST applications use a server to manage application data and state. The server communicates with a client handling the user interactions. The two components are divided by clearly separate concerns; they can be updated and improved in independent tracks.
  • Layered system: REST components cannot view beyond their designated layer. This leads to increased scalability and simpler integration of proxies and load balancers.
  • Uniform Interface: The most essential element of the REST architectural pattern is its emphasis on the consistency of interfaces between all components.
  • Cacheability: REST servers must indicate whether or not their replies are cacheable so that non-cacheable information may be discarded while essential information can be cached for performance gain.
  • Statelessness: In REST applications, clients keep application state, while servers do not handle client state. The service requests contain all of the information required for processing.

Advantages of the REST API:

  • REST API is a lightweight and adaptable design that may be readily integrated into any platform or language.
  • REST API is stateless, which implies that each request includes all of the information required to fulfill the request. This enables scalability while also reducing server burden.
  • The REST API is extensively used and supported by current programming languages and frameworks.
  • The REST API is a straightforward and standardized method of accessing information via the internet.

Disadvantages of REST API:

  • REST APIs may not be suitable for complicated business logic and operations.
  • REST APIs can be challenging to develop in some cases, particularly when working with complicated data structures.
  • REST API does not include an authentication or authorization system, thus developers must design their own security mechanisms.

What is a RESTful API?

Description of RESTful API

Source

RESTful APIs are mostly made up of the following components:

  • Headers: RESTful APIs use HTTP headers to handle information such as connection types, proxies, and metadata for both request messages and legitimate answers.
  • Data: Data is the body that provides additional information about the client-requested resource. When a client selects a content type in the header, the body includes the actual content.
  • Method: To help servers function effectively, these APIs change data using HTTP methods such as DELETE, POST, and GET.
  • Endpoints: These are URLs that specify where the data is stored on the server. Endpoints are the resources that we try to access via an API.

RESTful web services, often known as APIs, have several advantages. For example, they consume less bandwidth, handle all data formats, have a simple learning curve, and developers do not need to start from scratch. These APIs are quite popular in the SaaS application development market and are ideal for both public and private use.

Advantages of RESTful APIs:

  • RESTful API is a standardized version of the REST architecture that makes it easier for developers to create and manage online services.
  • RESTful APIs provide a consistent interface for accessing resources, simplifying the development process.
  • RESTful APIs offer caching, which can enhance speed by minimizing the amount of queries sent to the server.
  • RESTful APIs may work with a number of data types, including XML and JSON.

Disadvantages of RESTful API

  • RESTful APIs may be unsuitable for complicated business logic and operations.
  • RESTful APIs can be challenging to develop in some cases, particularly when working with complicated data structures.
  • RESTful APIs may be slower than alternative web service designs, particularly when dealing with big volumes of data.

Similarities Between REST API and RESTful API:

  • Both REST API and RESTful API are built on the REST architecture.
  • Both REST API and RESTful API are stateless, which means that each request includes all of the information required to fulfill the request.
  • Both REST API and RESTful API offer a straightforward and standardized method of accessing information over the internet.

Conclusion

From this blog, you would now know about APIs, REST APIs, and RESTful APIs. You will be able to appreciate the basic and key differences in the REST vs RESTful battle. The CRUD operations and Endpoints of REST RESTful APIs will be clear to you now. The future scope of these APIs is known at the end.

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Reference : Radix

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Business Analyst, Hevo Data

Sherley is a data analyst with a keen interest towards data analysis and architecture, having a flair for writing technical content. He has experience writing articles on various topics related to data integration and infrastructure.

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