Implementing APIs without focusing on building a clean,
scalable, and comprehensible architecture often leads to internal conflicts
between team and performance bottlenecks in your Java application. Hence, it
becomes easier to pay conscious attention to the API design architecture to
avoid future conflicts or reduce the chances of bugs and errors. This is why we
need to follow design best practices when using RESTful APIs in Java apps.
When designing custom REST APIs for Java apps, you should
ensure that the performance, ease of use, and security aspects are not impacted
negatively. Today we will discuss the best practices for optimizing REST API
design, including some must-do(s) and don'ts. You can hire a Java developer to take care of these technical hassles so you can focus on
business-driven decisions. However, if you would still like to learn about the
best practices you should follow when designing REST APIs in Java, let's dive
right into it.
Accept and respond using JSON.
Most people feel REST APIs can only return hypertext, but it
is false. You can also return JSON for any request and send responses using
JSON format. Since JSON is the most used format for transferring data, it can
be used by any platform on the front and back end. It is one of the most
lightweight, readable, and widely supported formats, which makes it an optimal
choice for data exchange. REST APIs are ideally used for internet services and
provide greater flexibility than traditional APIs. Hence, you can also choose
between XML and HTML or other custom formats to enable interaction through REST
Use Nouns in place of Verbs
When you use Rest API in Java applications, you work on
resources and collections of your Java application. Any action on these
resources would be defined by either PUT, GET, POST, PATCH, or DELETE formats.
Hence it is advisable to use such nouns to change the resource's state in the
Java app place verbs.
Most used nouns and their purpose -
GET: for fetching any record/records from the server
POST: creating a new resource/resources
OPTIONS: fetching all available REST operations
DELETE: deleting the targeted resource
PATCH: for modifying the given record
PUT: updating or replacing any given record
Ensuring proper documentation
Documenting your REST API designing process is very
important. It helps teams to gain a sight of reference when the system stops
working or performs incorrectly to identify possible bottlenecks, coding gaps,
or other problems which can be resolved to fix the problem. Also, proper
documentation ensures that future teams can easily understand the ongoing
project and start working on it without needing a lengthy onboarding process.
You should also attempt to make the documentation easier to understand for non-technical
users. Ensure to cover all possible tutorials, guides, and other reliable and
accessible features to optimize your REST API design.
Manage API Versioning efficiently.
REST API versioning is an amazing asset as it allows Java
developers to make any changes in the data structure or for any specific
actions. Most projects require more APIs to manage their daily operations as
they increase in size. By managing different API versions, you can control any
service's modifications and improvements. Hence you can help your customers
slowly migrate to your newer modules, allowing the flexibility to upgrade at
their own pace.
Optimize Error Handling
You cannot code in a way that your codebase never runs into
errors or bugs. However, you can take proactive measures to better prepare for
when your Java project runs into unforeseen errors. Any effective API is
supposed to return the accurate HTTP error code to identify which error caused
the system to break/interrupt or not perform as intended. You should ensure
that you write error-handling messages accurately with an error aspect, message
aspect, and detail aspect.
Common Error Handling Codes
400 â€“ Bad Requests
403 â€“ Forbidden
404 â€“ Not Found
500 â€“ Internal Server Error
502 â€“ Bad Gateway
503 â€“ Service Unavailable
Secure your APIs
APIs are a great gateway for integrating third-party
services or grabbing data from reliable sources for your Java app. However, it
is also a potential gateway for exploiters and attackers to enter and attack
your API server. Hence you should ensure that your API follows proper security
guidelines for running operations smoothly without compromising sensitive data
or the security of your app. You should ensure your REST API in Java design has
an HTTP Strict Transport Security policy and the necessary provisions for
protecting your app against common exploitation methods like man-in-the-middle,
session hijacking, etc.
Cache Data for improving performance
Caching is one of the most underestimated yet robust tools
for speeding up your Java app performance and speed. When you use caching, your
app doesn't need to extract the data for the same query from scratch
repeatedly. You should use caching to implement your REST APIs to reduce
resource consumption and improve your app performance. You should also keep an
active eye on the data present in the cache. It should only stay in the cache
briefly since obsolete or old data could lead to the app running errors and
compromising the production environment.
Optimizing Searching and related features
When your database increases in size, managing it can become
very difficult. To ensure a secure connection with your API, you need to
retrieve only the information requested by the user from the database and pass
it back as a response. For this, you need to use a filter that only fetches the
demanded request and doesn't access other database files. Doing so optimizes
the database operations and bandwidth usage for clients. You should use GET for
fetching different data filtering tags like Filtering, Sorting, Paging, Field
Selection, and more.
Making use of Resource Nesting Efficiently
Nesting APIs efficiently is an important REST API design
consideration in Java for representing hierarchical relationships between
different entities. Here are some best nesting practices you should follow -
Determine the relationship between different entities
Use meaningful and consistent URLs
Consider pagination and filtering
Avoid over-nesting or under-nesting
Using HTTP methods and proper query parameters
Establish resource relationships
These were some of the best practices to implement for
optimizing your REST API design in Java applications. By following these best
practices, you can ensure that your Java application works smoothly, is
scalable, and is highly secure while being performance oriented. Remember you
need to pay attention to technical details like nesting, putting good security
practices in place, optimizing performance through pagination and caching, and
other such best practices but at the same time, also make sure to properly
document the REST API design process, provide proper HTTP error codes and
follow other non-technical aspects of Java Rest API design optimization process
If you are a non-technical or a technical firm that needs to optimize its Java app efficiently and urgently, you can hire dedicated developers with expertise in Java development to take care of such optimizations for your project.
Ronak Patel is a CEO and Founder of Aglowid IT Solutions, an
ever-emerging Top Web and Mobile Development company with a motto of turning clients into successful
businesses. He believes that Client's success is company's success and so that
he always makes sure that Aglowid helps their client's business to reach to its
true potential with the help of his best team with the standard development
process he set up for the company.