Microsoft SharePoint API: REST API Examples and Operations Simplified

on API, Data Management Tools, Data Storage, Microsoft Dynamics 365, REST API, SharePoint • October 25th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

SharePoint API Cover

Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaborative platform to create powerful websites. SharePoint is not installed on your computer locally but is rather connected from a browser, and is primarily used as a Document Management and Storage System. Microsoft SharePoint is a lot more than just an application installed on your computer. SharePoint’s most useful feature is collaboration and sharing, helping you to stay organized by creating workflows and automating tasks. It is also the right place for you to store your documents securely.

This article discusses SharePoint API, REST API to be specific, that you can leverage for you and your team to work well together. You’ll also learn how to work around SharePoint REST API HTTP commands for added functionality.

Table of Contents

What is the SharePoint REST API?

SharePoint API: REST
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An Application Programming Interface (API) establishes a connection between computers or between computer programs (applications) by providing readily available codes and information pipelines. It is a type of software interface that acts as a mediator among other pieces of software to streamline the interaction with one other. Owing to diverse applications architectures, different types of APIs (such as Program, Local, Web, or REST API) assist developers in building robust digital solutions.

Representational State Transfer, also known as REST, is basically a standardized Software Architecture Style, or in simple words, a specific type of API used by the industry to establish a connection between Client and Server. REST API is built to guide the development and design of the World Wide Web’s architecture.

REST API provides a flexible, lightweight way of interacting with SharePoint remotely by using any technology that supports REST protocol. With SharePoint API, you can easily perform basic Create, Read, Update, and Delete (also known as CRUD) operations. This can be done from SharePoint Add-ins, Solutions, and from Client Object Model Applications as well. The REST interface exposes all the SharePoint entities and operations available in other SharePoint APIs.

Introduced by Microsoft in SharePoint 2013, the REST service is similar to existing SharePoint Client Object Models like JSOM and CSOM.

Advantages of Using SharePoint API

SharePoint API
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  • SharePoint API is easier to work with, and can also be accessed from the browser to test the results.
  • SharePoint REST API allows you to interact with SharePoint Sites remotely by using any technology that supports REST protocol.
  • One of the main advantages of using SharePoint REST API is that you can directly retrieve or update SharePoint entities (such as Webs, Lists, and List Items) by creating and sending HTTP requests to appropriate endpoints (URL) without adding references to any SharePoint Libraries or Client Assemblies.
  • With SharePoint REST API, no SP.js files need to be uploaded for code execution.

How Does SharePoint REST API Works?

REST is a standardized Software Architecture Style that uses Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) to specify operations against a remote service. Before you start working around SharePoint REST API, you need to construct a RESTful HTTP request using the Open Data Protocol (OData) standard. Open Data Protocol (OData) is used along with REST to access many Cloud-based services. The HTTP request corresponds to the desired Client Object Model API.

Your Client Application will then send an HTTP request to the client.svc web service, which internally calls the Server Object Model to retrieve data from the Content Database. The Client Application then parses the response sent in either Atom or JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format.

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Understanding SharePoint REST API Commands

With SharePoint API, you can perform typical CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) operations against SharePoint entities, such as Lists and Sites, by building REST endpoints. The REST endpoints in the SharePoint API correspond to the types and members in the SharePoint Client Object Models.

Endpoints representing Read operations (such as reading data from the SharePoint site) are mapped to HTTP GET commands, Create operations (such as creating a List or Library) are mapped to HTTP POST commands and Update or Insert operations (such as updating a List or Library Title or Description) are mapped to HTTP PUT commands. To start with SharePoint REST API, you need to create an HTTP request to build endpoints.

SharePoint API: Endpoints
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GET

In SharePoint API, the HTTP GET command is used to read or retrieve information from the SharePoint site. Typically, endpoints representing any Read operation use the GET method.

POST

In SharePoint API, the HTTP POST command is used to create or update a List or Library in a SharePoint Site. In SharePoint API POST endpoints, optional properties are set to their default values.

PUT/MERGE

In SharePoint API, HTTP PUT and HTTP MERGE commands are used to update an existing entity in a SharePoint List/Library or SharePoint List/Library Title/Description.

Setting properties is optional in the SharePoint REST API HTTP MERGE method, and if any property is not set explicitly, it keeps its current property. However, it is mandatory to set up all the required properties while updating SharePoint objects in the HTTP PUT method. Optional properties are set to their default values if not set explicitly.

DELETE

In SharePoint API, the HTTP DELETE command is used to delete any SharePoint object like deleting a SharePoint List, SharePoint Library, Documents, etc.

Now that you have got a basic idea of various HTTP commands, let’s implement them to perform CRUD operations.

SharePoint REST Endpoint Examples

First things first, to start with SharePoint REST API you need to create a REST endpoint. All the REST endpoint URLs start with:

https://SiteURL/Sites/SiteName/_api/

Here are various SharePoint REST API endpoint examples.

OperationSharePoint Rest API endpoint
Retrieve SharePoint Site Collectionhttps:///{site url}/_api/site
Retrieve a particular SharePoint Site or Webhttps:///{site url}/_api/web
Retrieve SharePoint Site Titlehttps://{site url}/_api/web/title
Retrieve all SharePoint Listshttps:///{site url}/_api/web/lists
Retrieve all the Items from a SharePoint Listhttps:///{site url}/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘listname’)/items
Retrieve SharePoint List Titlehttps:///{site url}/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘listname’)?select=Title
Retrieve all the columns of a SharePoint Listhttps:///{site url}/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘listname’)/Fields
Retrieve a SharePoint List by using List GUIDhttps:///{site url}/_api/Web/Lists(List GUID)
Retrieve a SharePoint List Item by Item Idhttps:///{site url}/_api/web/lists/GetByTitle(‘listname’)/GetItemById(2)
Retrieve SharePoint Current User Informationhttps:///{site url}/_api/Web/currentUser
Retrieve selected Fields of a SharePoint List Itemshttps:///{site url}/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘listname’)/Items?select=ID,Title,FirstName,LastName
Retrieve all SharePoint Site Users
https:///{site url}/_api/Web/siteusers
Retrieve all Groups from a SharePoint Sitehttps:///{site url}/_api/Web/sitegroups
Retrieve a particular SharePoint Group by Group Idhttps:///{site url}/_api/Web/sitegroups/GetById(GroupId)
Retrieve all the Users from a SharePoint Grouphttps:///{site url}/_api/Web/sitegroups(Id)/users
SharePoint REST API Endpoints Examples

Conclusion

As you already know, SharePoint has been one of the best collaborative platforms for organizations in recent times. To unleash its full potential, organizations have started leveraging SharePoint API to perform various operations. This article introduced you to SharePoint API and also showed you how to implement SharePoint REST API endpoints to perform basic operations.

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Do you use SharePoint? Share your experience of working with SharePoint API in the comments section below.

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