RESTful, or representational state transfer, is a style of software architecture for distributed hypermedia systems such as the World Wide Web.

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Your data model has started to stabilize and you're in a position to create a public API for your web app. You realize it's hard to make significant changes to your API once it's released and want to get as much right as possible up front. Now, the internet has no shortage on opinions on API design. But, since there's no one widely adopted standard that works in all cases, you're left with a bunch of choices: What formats should you accept? How should you authenticate? Should your API be versioned?

Good API design is hard! An API represents a contract between you and those who Consume your data. Breaking this contract will result in many angry emails, and a slew of sad users with mobile apps which no longer work. Documentation is half the battle, and it is very difficult to find programmer who also likes to write.

Even the simplest APIs have a lot of considerations to be made. Once you’ve settled on a couple patterns that you can use across your entire API implementing it becomes easy. And your API consumers will be able to learn it quickly. Be consistent across your resources (one style for lists, one style for detail, consistent data structures) and pay attention to the anticipated usage context for each request.