8 best practices for designing a scalable REST API
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8 best practices for designing a scalable REST API

Any application that has to manage a high volume of requests and/or data must design a scalable REST API. Poor performance, disgruntled users, and possibly even lost income are all inevitable consequences of an API that cannot scale successfully.

Here are eight best practises to consider when creating a scalable REST API:

1. Use HTTP status codes correctly.

Since they offer the client useful details about the recent request, HTTP status codes play a crucial role in the architecture of APIs. For instance, a 200 OK status denotes a successful request, whereas a 400 Bad Request result denotes an issue with the request itself. Verify that you are using the correct status codes for the various kinds of answers that your API will send.

2. Use plural nouns for resource names.

Using plural nouns when naming resources in your API is a smart idea. This makes it easier to understand that the resource is a group of stuff rather than a single thing. You could, for instance, substitute "users" for "user" and "products" for "product".

3. Use resource-specific HTTP methods.

Use of HTTP methods such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE must be tailored to the resource they are acting on. Use a POST request to add a new resource, a GET request to obtain it, a PUT request to update it, and a DELETE request to remove it, for instance.

4. Use versioning for your API.

Versioning of APIs is crucial for a number of reasons. It makes your API more stable, enables you to experiment with new features without impacting the entire API, and enables you to make changes to your API without disrupting any existing clients. Your API can be versioned in a number of ways, including by including a version number in the URL or by using a special HTTP header.

5. Use pagination for large result sets.

Implementing pagination is a smart idea if your API will be providing massive result sets. This will help your API run more efficiently and make it simpler for customers to use the data. Pagination can be implemented in a number of ways, including by using the limit and offset parameters or a "next" token.

6. Use filtering, sorting, and searching.

Consider adding filtering, sorting, and searching to your API to make it simple for users to access particular data. Clients can then describe precisely what data they need and how they want it structured by utilising query parameters in the URL.

7. Use HTTP caching.

By enabling clients to store a copy of the response data locally, HTTP caching can dramatically increase the performance of your API. By doing so, the server may receive fewer requests, which will speed up the server's total response time. You must include the proper cache control headers in your API answers if you want to use HTTP caching.

8. Use HATEOAS (Hypermedia as the Engine of Application State).

According to the HATEOAS principle, clients should be able to use links within an API to traverse rather than hard-coding URLs. This makes it simpler to alter the API without damaging the client and helps to decouple the client from the API. You must include references to relevant resources in your API answers if you want to use HATEOAS.

Final thoughts

We hoped you liked this Snapi SMS blog post on some of the best practices to consider when building a REST API.

We'll catch you in the next article!

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