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Understanding REST APIs in 5 Simple Steps


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Lightning talk. 10 minute content

Published in: Technology
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Understanding REST APIs in 5 Simple Steps

  1. 1. ParisJS Meetup December 3rd, 2016 Follow me on Twitter and/or tweet at me. @tessamero By Tessa Mero Understanding REST APIs in 5 Simple Steps
  2. 2. REST != $this
  3. 3. “It’s a way for two pieces of software to talk to each other” Application Programming Interface
  4. 4. STEP 1: Understanding the Purpose of APIs
  5. 5. Why are APIs so Important?
  6. 6. API Growth from 2000 to 2016 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 2000 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2016 API's API's Source: 2016 data from 2005-2015 data from and 2000-2004 data from
  7. 7. An API is like … An API (Application Programming Interface) is best thought of as a contract provided by one piece of computer software to another.
  8. 8. APIs help developers create apps that benefit the end user. Yelp asks for Map Data Google Maps returns map data via API Users sees list of restaurants close to them
  9. 9. STEP 2: Learn what REST is
  10. 10. A REST API defines a set of functions which developers can perform requests and receive responses via HTTP protocol such as GET and POST.
  11. 11. REST is best explained as a way to talk to other machines through the server with an HTTP Protocol Using Verbs (actions) and Nouns (items)
  12. 12. STEP 3: Know What Request and Responses are
  13. 13. View a Web Page 13Presentation ID
  14. 14. View a Web Page 14Presentation ID Request GET /index.htm HTTP/1.1 Response HTTP 200 OK <html>
  15. 15. REST APIs use Request and Response too
  16. 16. Get Data using an API (Spark) 16Presentation ID
  17. 17. Get Data using an API – Response! 17Presentation ID Request GET /rooms Response HTTP 200 OK {json data} API Consumer API Provider
  18. 18. List of Verbs!
  19. 19. STEP 4: Documentation is Your Dictionary
  20. 20. API Reference for Rooms (Verbs and Nouns)
  21. 21. Request Parameters for “MESSAGES”
  22. 22. STEP 5: Learn How to Use Debug/Test Tools for APIs
  23. 23. Tools to Debug/Test • Webhook Debugging (RequestBin formerly…) • Webhook Utilities (Torpio…) • Local Tunneling (ngrok...) • API Monitoring (Runscope...) • Response Mocking ( • JSON Utilities (JSONFormat...) • OAUTH Utilities ( • API Directories (, ProgrammableWeb...) • API Testing (Runscope Radar...) • Load Testing ( • GUI HTTP Clients (POSTMAN...)
  24. 24. POSTMAN!!!!!
  25. 25. method url request headers status code response headers content-type response body query parameters
  26. 26. Add JSON to the Body in POSTMAN
  27. 27. Summary: 1. You Understand the Purpose 2. You Know what REST is 3. Request & Response – Makes sense 4. Documentation – Live by it. 5. Debugging&Test Tools – Prevent headaches
  28. 28. OUI!!!!!!!!
  29. 29. Thank You @tessamero