Nailing RESTful API Design: A Straightforward Guide

Last Updated on 13/02/2024 by Patryk Bandurski

Hey there! Ready to make your API as friendly and reliable? Let’s unpack some RESTful API design practices that are easy to digest and will save you a headache down the road. Dive in for a guide that distills my hands-on experience into practical wisdom for crafting APIs that hit the sweet spot of functionality and user-friendliness.

Naming: Clear, Concise

Naming your endpoints should be clear-cut and intuitive.

  • Hyphens are your clarity heroes: Separate words for the sake of readability. Go with /customers/saving-accounts rather than a jumble of characters.
  • Lowercase for the win: URLs can be case-sensitive, so let’s avoid the confusion and stick with lowercase, like /customers/saving-accounts.
  • Extensions are passé: This is the web, not your file system. Drop the .xml and keep it clean with /customers/saving-accounts.

URIs Done Right

Let’s cut through the clutter when it comes to URIs.

  • Resource names, not actions: Your URI should represent ‘what’ not ‘how’. Instead of /getCustomers, a simple /customers does the job.
  • Keep filters in their lane: Filters belong in the query string, not the path. So instead of /customers/active, try /customers?status=active.
  • Standard methods for standard actions: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE are your bread and butter. They’re the universal language of APIs.
  • Queries for clarity: A query like /customers?region=USA is self-explanatory and keeps things organized.

Decoding HTTP Status Codes

HTTP status codes are like quick text messages from your API – they convey a lot without much ado.

  • 2xx is your thumbs up: Use 201 Created for new stuff, 204 No Content when there’s nothing to return but all is well, and 200 OK for a regular successful operation.
  • 4xx/5xx for when things go sideways: 400 Bad Request for user errors, 401 Unauthorized when they’re out of bounds, and 500 Internal Server Error for when the server’s having a bad day.

Consistency is Key

Being consistent with your API is like being on time – it’s respectful and expected. Make your API predictable, and you’ll make it a joy to use.


Crafting a great API is about making something that works well and feels intuitive. Keep it simple, consistent, and stick to these principles, and you’ll have an API that users come back to like their favorite lunch spot.

Nailing RESTful API Design: A Straightforward Guide

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