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Pramuda Liyanage
Pramuda Liyanage

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HTTP Methods For Restful Services

REST APIs enable you to develop any kind of web application having all possible CRUD (create, retrieve, update, delete) operations.The HTTP methods comprise a major portion of our “uniform interface” constraint and provide us the action counterpart to the noun-based resource. The primary or most-commonly-used HTTP methods are POST, GET, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE. These correspond to create, read, update, and delete (or CRUD) operations, respectively.

Method 1 : POST

POST is the only RESTful API HTTP method that primarily operates on resource collections. When creating a subordinate resource in a collection, applying POST to the parent resource prompts it to create a new resource, associate it with the proper hierarchy and return a dedicated URL for later reference. However, keep in mind that POST is not idempotent; you can't use this method more than once and expect a consistent outcome or result.

A significant benefit of POST is that it enables developers to explicitly define resources. This feature helps prevent teams from accidentally creating subordinate resources that pollute code, muddy references and cause applications to experience problems.

Method 2 : PATCH

A PATCH request is one of the lesser-known HTTP methods, but I'm including it this high in the list since it is similar to POST and PUT. The difference with PATCH is that you only apply partial modifications to the resource.

The difference between PATCH and PUT, is that a PATCH request is non-idempotent (like a POST request).

To expand on partial modification, say you're API has a /users/ (double brackets){userid} endpoint, and a user has a username. With a PATCH request, you may only need to send the updated username in the request body - as opposed to POST and PUT which require the full user entity.

Method 3 : GET

The most common HTTP method is GET, which returns a representational view of a resource's contents and data. GET should be used in read-only mode, which keeps the data safe and the resource idempotent. You should get the same results no matter how many times you use this method, unless it is modified by another client in the interim.

The GET method is sometimes used to change the contents of a resource, but this is a precarious use of the method. It's common to compromise a client's ability to PATCH a resource if the resource detects a change since the PATCH client last conducted a GET.

Method 4 : PUT

Similar to POST, PUT requests are used to send data to the API to update or create a resource. The difference is that PUT requests are idempotent. That is, calling the same PUT request multiple times will always produce the same result. In contrast, calling a POST request repeatedly make have side effects of creating the same resource multiple times.

Generally, when a PUT request creates a resource the server will respond with a 201 (Created), and if the request modifies existing resource the server will return a 200 (OK) or 204 (No Content).

Method 5 : DELETE

The last HTTP method to examine is DELETE. When a DELETE method targets a single resource, that resource is removed entirely.

Implementations of DELETE are typically somewhat inconsistent: The URL for the resource may remain available even if the actual resource is absent. In this type of scenario, it's possible the server or resource implementation will still change the state of the vanished resource using the URL, and likely react differently to subsequent DELETE executions.

While it's certainly possible, you should generally avoid using the DELETE method in a resource collection since it will delete all the contents within. Remember, the method isn't idempotent, and shouldn't be treated as such.

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