What Is REST API? Examples and Use Cases

In the realm of web development, REST API stands as a cornerstone technology that has revolutionized how systems communicate with each other. This blog aims to delve into the concept of REST API, breaking down its principles, and more. Through real-world examples, we will explore how REST APIs facilitate seamless interactions between computer systems.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or new to the tech world, this blog will provide you with a solid foundation in REST APIs, and how they can be leveraged to create dynamic and user-friendly apps. Let’s check it out!

What Is REST API? Examples and Use Cases

What is REST API?

For those who don’t know, REST API is meaning a set of rules and standards that allows different computer systems to communicate over the internet in a simple and standardized way. It uses HTTP requests to perform actions on data, which is often formatted in JSON or XML. This architecture enables the building of scalable, flexible, and efficient web services. Hence, making it a popular choice for web developers to create APIs that allow apps to interact with each other seamlessly.

A REST API adheres to the REST architectural style’s guidelines, which emphasize simplicity and statelessness in web communication. These APIs offer a streamlined and efficient method for different apps to interact and for linking various parts within microservices frameworks.

> Related: An Ultimate Guide to API You Should Know

6 Design Principles of REST API

In simple terms, an API acts as a gateway for one app or service to utilize resources from another one. The entity using the resources is known as the client, while the entity providing the resources is referred to as the server. REST APIs, unlike more rigid APIs like SOAP or XML-RPC, dictate specific frameworks. It offers flexibility in development, allowing the use of nearly any programming language and supporting various data formats. The essential aspect is adherence to the six foundational principles of REST, also known as architectural constraints, which guide their design.

Client-Server Architecture

This principle separates the user interface concerns from the data storage concerns, which improves the portability of the user interface across multiple platforms and scalability by simplifying the server components.

Stateless Communications 

Each request from the client to the server must contain all the information the server needs to understand and fulfill the request. The server does not store any session information about the client, which means every request is independent.

Cacheable Responses

The server’s responses should be explicitly labeled as cacheable or non-cacheable, to prevent clients from reusing stale or inappropriate data in response to further requests. Caching can eliminate some client-server interactions, improving efficiency and scalability.

Uniform Interface

This constraint simplifies and decouples the architecture, which enables each part to evolve independently. The four guiding principles of the uniform interface are:

  • Resource Identification in Requests: Individual resources are identified in requests, for example, using URIs in Web-based REST systems.
  • Resource Manipulation through Representations: When a client holds a representation of a resource, including any metadata attached, it has enough information to modify or delete the resource on the server, provided it has permission to do so.
  • Self-descriptive Messages: Each message includes enough information to describe how to process the message.
  • Hypermedia as the Engine of Application State (HATEOAS): Clients interact with a RESTful service entirely through hypermedia provided dynamically by app servers.

Layered System

A client cannot ordinarily tell whether it is connected directly to the end server or to an intermediary along the way. Intermediary servers can improve system scalability by enabling load balancing and providing shared caches. They can also enforce security policies.

Code on Demand

Servers can temporarily extend or customize the functionality of a client by transferring executable code. For example, compiled components such as Java applets or client-side scripts such as JavaScript can be provided. This principle is the only optional constraint of REST.

> Related: Flutter vs React Native: Which One is Better For Your Project?

How Does REST API Work?

REST APIs utilize HTTP requests to carry out typical database operations such as creating, reading, updating, and deleting records within a resource.

For instance, to retrieve a record, a REST API would employ a GET request. To add a new record, it would use a POST request. Updating an existing record is done through a PUT request while deleting a record is accomplished with a DELETE request. REST APIs can leverage all HTTP methods in these calls, functioning much like a website in a web browser that inherently understands HTTP.

The specific state of a resource at any given moment is referred to as the resource’s representation. It can be conveyed to clients in various formats such as JSON, HTML, XLT, Python, PHP, or plain text. 

In REST API interactions, request headers and parameters play a crucial role by carrying essential information like metadata, URIs, cookies, and more. Together with standard HTTP status codes, these elements are integral to the structure of well-architected REST APIs.

REST API Examples & Use Cases

REST APIs are all around us, silently playing a vital role in the applications we use daily. Here are a few examples:

  • Social Media: When you like a post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter, a REST API call is made behind the scenes, sending that information to the social media platform’s servers.
  • Weather Apps: The weather information displayed on your phone’s weather app likely comes from a weather service’s REST API.
  • E-commerce Platforms: Adding items to your shopping cart on an e-commerce website triggers REST API calls to update your cart and product inventory.

These are just a few examples, and REST APIs are used in countless other applications, from travel booking to fitness trackers.

Compelling Use Cases for REST APIs: Building Feature-Rich Applications

The true power of REST APIs lies in their versatility. Here are some key use cases that showcase their potential:

  • Data Integration: REST APIs enable seamless data exchange between different applications. This allows you to build applications that leverage data from various sources, creating a more holistic user experience.
  • Mobile App Development: REST APIs are essential for building mobile applications that interact with backend servers. This empowers mobile apps to access and manipulate data remotely.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): REST APIs provide a way for IoT devices to communicate with cloud platforms, enabling remote monitoring, control, and data analysis.


In conclusion, understanding REST API is crucial, as it enables seamless interaction between different software apps. By embracing REST API principles and utilizing services like those, developers can build more flexible, scalable, and innovative apps. For those looking to leverage REST APIs, AMELA offers a robust REST API service that can help streamline your development process.

Contact us through the following information:

  • Hotline: (+84)904026070 
  • Email: hello@amela.tech 
  • Address: 5th Floor, Tower A, Keangnam Building, Urban Area new E6 Cau Giay, Pham Hung, Me Tri, Nam Tu Liem, Hanoi

Editor: AMELA Technology

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