5 Best Books on Designing Elegant REST APIs in 2021
REST — also known as RESTful Web Services — has become the standard style for developing web services along with GraphQL.
REST stands for 'representational state transfer.' A RESTful API is an architectural style for an Application Program Interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to access and use data. REST relies on a stateless, client-server protocol and in almost all cases it’s going to be HTTP.
Are you looking for the best RESTful API books? This article discusses some must-read books on RESTful APIs that suit your requirements. Let's get started.
Why Learn RESTful APIs
REST technology is generally preferred over other similar technologies. Here are a few reasons why you should learn RESTful APIs:
Easy to Learn and Implement: REST uses HTTP methods for communication and that makes it easy to learn. REST reduces the complexity of the application and things become easier for the developers.
Scalability: REST stands out due to its scalability. The separation of client and server in REST architecture allows the developers to scale apps more easily.
Caching is easier: REST aims to make caching easier. The server is stateless and each request can be processed individually,
Flexibility and Portability: REST API gives a lot of flexibility to the user. Also, you can easily transfer the data from one server to another server. It also allows you to hosts the back and front end on different servers.
More recently, GraphQL has become a popular alternative to REST. You may also be interested in reading and learning from books on GraphQL.
What Makes Best Books on RESTful APIs?
When looking for the best books to learn RESTful APIs, one question to ask is this: what makes the best books on RESTful APIs?
Here are our criteria to select books on RESTful APIs:
It must have a structured, clear, and logical progression of topics.
The book is concise and easy to understand.
Contain exercises, examples, and practice problems for hands-on experience.
Engaging and able to hold the attention of readers.
The book should have a clear layout and must be friendly toward self-taught programmers.
Best Books on RESTful APIs
When it comes to learning RESTful APIs, books have become the best source for learning them. Enjoy our list of six best books on RESTful APIs.
1. Best book for hands-on learners: Hands-On RESTful API Design Patterns and Best Practices
Hands-On RESTful API Design Patterns and Best Practices by Harihara Subramanian and Pethuru Raj is one of the best REST API books for beginners. The book helps you to build effective RESTful APIs for enterprises with design patterns and REST framework’s out-of-the-box capabilities.
The insightful book helps to understand advanced topics such as API gateways, API securities, and cloud. You will be able to implement patterns programmatically with easy-to-follow examples. Here's what you will learn from the book:
Introduction to the Basics of RESTful Architecture
Design Strategy, Guidelines, and Best Practices
Essential RESTful API Patterns
Advanced RESTful API Patterns
Microservice API Gateways
RESTful Services API Testing and Security
RESTful Service Composition for Smart Applications
RESTful API Design Tips
A More In-depth View of the RESTful Services Paradigm
Frameworks, Standard Languages, and Toolkits
Legacy Modernization to Microservices-centric Apps
The book is divided into eleven chapters and includes the following topics:
Chapter 1 gives you an introduction to the Basics of RESTful Architecture
Chapter 2 covers Design Strategy, Guidelines, and Best Practices
Chapter 3 talks about Essential RESTful API Patterns
Chapter 4 talks about Advanced RESTful API Patterns
Chapter 5 covers Microservice API Gateways
Chapter 6 talks about RESTful Services API Testing and Security
Chapter 7 covers RESTful Service Composition for Smart Applications
Chapter 8 gives you RESTful API Design Tips
Chapter 9 highlights a more in-depth view of the RESTful Services Paradigm
Chapter 10 covers Frameworks, Standard Languages, and Toolkits
Chapter 11 talks about Legacy Modernization to Microservices-centric Apps
By the end of the book, you’ll be empowered with all that you need to create highly flexible APIs for next-generation RESTful services and applications.
2. Best book for serious learners: RESTful API Design
RESTful API Design: Best Practices in API Design with REST by Matthias Biehl is packed with best practices on technical aspects of RESTful API Design. The book introduces the two most common API description languages RAML and OpenAPI/Swagger.
The REST concepts are well explained with many examples. You will learn a customer-centric design and development approach for APIs. This highly informative guide is well-structured, easy to read and follow, and quite detailed. As a reader of this book, you have free access to the API-University Best Practice Newsletter and amazing bonus material.
The book is divided into twelve chapters and includes the following topics:
Chapter 1 gives you an introduction
Chapter 2 covers Consumer-Oriented API Design: APIs as Products
Chapter 3 talks about API Design and Development Approach
Chapter 4 covers API Design with API Description Languages
Chapter 5 talks about API Architectural Design Decisions
Chapter 6 gives an introduction to REST
Chapter 7 talks about API Frontend Design Decisions
Chapter 8 covers OpenAPI/Swagger for API Frontend Design
Chapter 9 covers RAML for API Frontend Design
Chapter 10 talks about API Backend Design Decisions
Chapter 11 covers Non-Functional Properties of APIs
Chapter 12 talks about API Client Design
The book is full of practical advice and walks you through the important decisions you need to make when building an API. If you are looking for best practices for RESTful APIs, this book is for you!
More books you may like:
3. Best book for total beginners: Undisturbed REST: a Guide to Designing the Perfect API
Undisturbed REST: a Guide to Designing the Perfect API by Michael Stowe is a great beginner’s book for introducing yourself to REST APIs. You’ll learn how they work and how to connect to other APIs with live code examples. The book helps you to understand APIs, best practices, and available tooling for designing, prototyping, sharing, documenting, and generating tooling around your API.
In this book, you will learn:
How to equip yourself with the knowledge to build an API that can be easily be integrated and extended
Modern design techniques and more complex concepts such as REST and hypermedia as the engine of application state (HATEOAS)
Best practices around how to plan, design, build, manage and share your APIs
The book includes the following chapters:
What is an API
Planning Your API
Designing the Spec
Prototyping and Agile Testing
Authorization and Authentication
Designing Your Resources
Designing Your Methods
Managing with a Proxy
Documenting and Sharing Your API
A Final Thought
You will get valuable tips for designing your own API from scratch. This book is a gem for those who are new to the world of APIs.
4. Best book for Java developers: RESTful Java Web Services
RESTful Java Web Services by Bogunuva Mohanram Balachandar is a pragmatic guide to designing and building RESTful APIs using Java. This book attempts to familiarize the reader with the concepts of REST.
After reading the book, you will be able to:
Introduce yourself to the RESTful software architectural style and the REST API design principles
Make use of the JSR 353 API, JSR 374 API, JSR 367 API and Jackson API for JSON processing
Build portable RESTful web APIs, making use of the JAX-RS 2.1 API
Simplify API development using Jersey and RESTEasy extension APIs
Secure your RESTful web services with various authentication and authorization mechanisms
Get to grips with the various metadata solutions to describe, produce, and consume RESTful web services
The book helps to understand the design and coding guidelines to build well-performing RESTful APIs. The reader will see how the role of RESTful web services changes with emerging technologies and trends.
The contents covered book in the book are:
Chapter 1 introduces RESTful Architecture
Chapter 2 covers Java APIs for JSON Processing
Chapter 3 introduces JAX-RS API
Chapter 4 talks about advanced features in JAX-RS API
Chapter 5 introduces JAX-RS Implementation Framework Extensions
Chapter 6 talks about securing RESTful Web Services
Chapter 7 covers Description and Discovery of RESTful Web Services
Chapter 8 talks about RESTful API Design Guidelines
Chapter 9 covers RESTful Services Role in Emerging Technologies
Chapter 10 talks about useful features and techniques and tools for building a JAX-RS application
By the end of this book, you will be able to efficiently build robust, scalable, and secure RESTful web services using Java APIs.
5. Best book for Node.js developers: REST API Development with Node.js
REST API Development with Node.js by Fernando Doglio helps you manage and understand the full capabilities of successful REST development. The book gives a brief background on REST and the tools it provides. You will learn about the maintained modules currently available in the npm community, including Express, Restify, Vatican, and Swagger.
This completely updated second edition is divided into ten chapters and includes the following topics:
Chapter 1 covers REST 101
Chapter 2 covers API Design Best Practices
Chapter 3 covers Node.js and REST
Chapter 4 talks about architecting a REST API
Chapter 5 talks about working with Modules
Chapter 6 talks about planning your REST API
Chapter 7 talks about developing Your REST API
Chapter 8 talks about testing your API
Chapter 9 talks about deploying into Production
Chapter 10 covers Troubleshooting
After reading the book, you will be able to
Understand how REST and API development mix up with Node.js
Create a scalable, technology agnostic, and uniform interface
Prepare your services to be consumed by your clients
Test and deploy your API
Review troubleshooting techniques
More ways to learn REST APIs
It’s a known fact that programmers and developers are lifelong learners. These best books on RESTful APIs provide a broad tour of Restful APIs from several different points of view.
If you are not really into books you can check out these courses:
Udemy: REST APIs with Flask and Python is a 17 hours high-rated course. It helps to Build professional REST APIs with Python, Flask, Flask-RESTful, and Flask SQLAlchemy
Coursera: Developing APIs with Google Cloud's Apigee API Platform Specialization is a three-course specialization by Google that teaches how to design and build APIs using Google Cloud’s API management tool, Apigee.
If you’re interested in learning more about building web servers, you may be interested in books on Node & Express or even books on GraphQL. Hope to see you in those articles and thank you for reading until the end.