7 killer resources for coming to terms with the WordPress REST API

Brush up on your knowledge

The world of WordPress has been abuzz with hype and hoopla about the arrival of the REST API for well over a year now, but the road to full integration has been far from smooth. The delay has meant that WordPress developers have been granted a little more time to come to terms with the API’s implementation.

Regardless of what way you use WordPress, the REST API is going to have a fundamental effect on your future.

Fortunately, as the community gradually accepts the implications of the new technology, a host of useful information is making its way onto the web. In this piece, we’ll step through seven killer resources you can start using today to prep yourself for REST API. Let’s kick things off close to home!

1. A solid overview of REST API basics here at GoDaddy

Douglas Karr’s introduction to the REST API back at the beginning of 2016 is still incredibly valuable. Take a few minutes to read it, and you’ll get a solid breakdown of the basic moving parts of the system, along with useful sample scenarios and examples of real-world implementations.

As a reward for reaching the end, you’ll also get pointed in the direction of an excellent tutorial on creating a mobile app with React and the REST API, courtesy of the good people at Delicious Brains.

2. The official REST API documentation

Rest API Documentation
Go straight to the source with the official REST API documentation.

No mention of REST API resources would be complete without a shout-out to the project’s official documentation. This is a lifesaver when you’re first kicking the tires, and it’s a resource you’ll come back to time and time again — definitely one for the bookmarks folder!

3. Vinay Sahni’s guide to REST API best practices

Regardless of your level of experience as a developer, nailing best practices in terms of REST APIs in general can be a tricky business. Vinay Sahni’s guide to getting it right is solid gold across the board, and it has rightfully attracted praise from all corners of the development world. Study it closely, and you stand to significantly up your game with both the WordPress REST API and your interactions with third-party APIs.

4. Postman

You’re going to be spending an awful lot of time interacting with APIs in WordPress and beyond once you grok the basics, and it’s well worth investing some hours to get familiar with an easy-to-use API client.

Rest API Postman
Choosing a modern API client, such as Postman, saves time and effort across the board.

Postman is an incredibly convenient option that’s available for free as both a Chrome app and a Mac app, and it’s guaranteed to save you an awful lot of heavy lifting down the line.

5. The Human Made REST API white paper

Human Made is one the most high-profile and widely respected WordPress agencies on the planet. So when they chime in on a topic, it’s always worth sitting up and paying attention. Their excellent WordPress REST API white paper makes for essential reading.

Rest API Human Made
The Human Made REST API white paper is a must-read.

Make sure you clear an hour or so to really sit down and digest this digital doorstopper. As you work through its pages, you’ll find an all-star cast of development talent expertly breaking down use cases, opportunities and challenges associated with the technology. As a companion piece to the white paper, Ryan McCue’s introductory presentation from the A Day of Rest conference is also worth a look.

6. Breaking REST API news at WP Tavern

As part of the Automattic empire, WP Tavern carries more authority than most when it comes to breaking news about the platform. Hit up the relevant tag on the site, and you’ll get a stream of useful REST API-related info about conferences, podcasts, WordPress releases and more. It’s been a little quiet of late, but then again so has the project itself — that’s sure to change sooner rather than later!

7. Tips and tutorials at Torque

Torque has carved out a nice niche for itself in the WordPress world over the last couple of years, and they’ve been knocking it out of the park with REST API content. Stick “REST API” into their site search, and you’ll find all manner of useful, one-off articles and detailed tutorial series to sink your teeth into.

Conclusion

If you’ve been holding off on diving into the details of the REST API, there’s no better time to start than today. Projects such as Calypso are already showing the API will be central to future WordPress development.

Let’s step through our resources one more time:

  1. Brush up on the basics with Douglas Karr’s intro.
  2. Dive into the official documentation.
  3. Up your wider REST API game with Vinay Sahni’s guide.
  4. Start using a slick API client such as Postman.
  5. Learn from the pros with Human Made’s white paper.
  6. Stay in touch with new topics at WP Tavern.
  7. Get down to business with tutorials at Torque.

Do you have any other great REST API resources to share? Let us know via the comments section below!


Also published on Medium.

Image by: Nikolay Bachiyski via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Tom Ewer
Tom Ewer is a freelance writer, online entrepreneur, and the founder of Leaving Work Behind and WordCandy. He has been obsessed with WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he's not running his businesses, you're likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!