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Web API power tools: Steps to RESTful programming bliss

February 12, 2011

I’ve been using a lot of RESTful web APIs of late.

I’m writing about them for the PayPal X DevZone blog (see my recent MoSoLo posts) and testing and documenting them in other work.  I’ve also been doing some RSS feed data harvesting and filtering which, although it’s not technically RESTful work, uses a lot of the same skills and technologies to get things done.

If you’re doing any web development these days, I suspect you’re elbow deep in RESTlike and RESTful stuff, too.

Which leads me to this question:  What tools make your RESTful development more fun and efficient?  I have a few favorites I’d like to share.

My general approach when encountering a new API is:

  1. Learn about the resources available through the API (time to read the documentation, source, and example code)
  2. Prototype API calls, using an API console where possible; this can often be done in parallel with step 1 to speed things up
  3. Once I have reasonably sorted out calls, I copy them into my scripts and programs and test to make sure everything’s good-to-go

Example:  I recently wrote about the Facebook Graph API.

Read the complete post on the PayPal X Developer Network to learn how I got up to speed using Facebook resources, an Apigee console, and good old command line cURL.

Apigee Facebook console

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