What Does RESTful API Mean?

A RESTful API is an API that conforms to the representational state transfer or REST model. RESTful APIs are sometimes easier for developers to use because they have a familiar syntax and set of protocols. As more functionality has been built into the internet, developers have talked a lot about the benefits of RESTful architecture.


Techopedia Explains RESTful API

A RESTful architecture uses HTTP coding for much of its functionality. It uses the established Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for security purposes. It is also language-agnostic, in a practical sense, and very compatible with many different environments.

That is not to say that RESTful architecture does not have its limitations. One big example that developers have talked about extensively is the lack of state-based data transfer in RESTful architectures. As a result, applications must be stateless, or be supplemented with some outside resource that adds in the desired state information. Again, the simplicity enabled by RESTful architecture means it still enjoys some popular use in the developer community.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.