WordPress REST API: What It Is and How to Get Started Using It

The WordPress REST API was introduced within version 4.7 of WordPress. It added new functions and opportunities to WordPress development. These days, the WordPress REST API allows programmers to interact with WordPress sites remotely. They do this by sending and receiving JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) objects. In essence, this means you can build websites from the back end. You can build mobile apps, websites, and desktop apps that are all based on WordPress, but instead of using WordPress’s front end, you are using its back end.

Reminder – What is an API?
We hear these words, but not so often, so here it is again. An API is an “Application Programming Interface.” It allows two pieces of software to communicate with each other. Perhaps the easiest example of an API is log-in screens. Maybe you go onto a website like Buffer, and it asks you if you want to log in with your Twitter account, or your Facebook account or your LinkedIn account. Think of this as your API because it is one program that allows you to connect and communicate with a variety of different programs. 

PayPal is also a pretty good example of an API. It is the intermediate software that you use to get your money from your bank to your PayPal account, to the eCommerce website's bank account.

What is The REST API?
There are two ways to think about it. The first is where you are building a large marble mural, and instead of approaching from the front and carving out the stone, you are carving it at home and sending the pieces in to be installed.

The second and more common way to explain a REST API is to pretend it is a shop assistant. Instead of you walking into the door and buying your loaf of bread, you go into the store and ask the shop assistant to get you your loaf of bread from the storeroom.

Explaining the REST API
The REST API is a WordPress plugin that allows applications the ability to access data produced by WordPress. It does this in the JSON format.

The WordPress REST API is an API that allows external applications to access data and functionality of the WordPress CMS. It uses a type of programming format to do this (like programming code). The programming code is called JSON. It stands for JavaScript Object Notation. This is the code/format that the REST API uses to exchange data.

REST APIs are the preferred form of API for internet use. This is because they are relatively simple and flexible thanks to their use of fewer guidelines and rules. The REST API deals with a total of four HTTP requests:

  • PUT
  • GET
  • POST

Getting Started With The REST API
This is a tricky one. It is like saying, how to get started with driving, and then giving a brief overview of how it moves in one direction, and you have to steer. If you are starting with the REST API, then start with something simple. Access your REST API, fetch a specific post using the REST API, and then do something like add meta data to the post. Doing something like this may seem pointless but starting with something small is the best way to grow accustomed to the tools and to the way the systems work.

You will need at least a mild understanding of PHP if you want to start out on a strong footing. Otherwise, you are going to have to learn a bit about programming and how the WordPress system works so that you can operate it from its backend. Either way, take the advice of this article and start with something small until you get the hang of using the REST API with WordPress. Alternatively, approach a WordPress development company and let them set it all up for you. It is far easier and requires significantly less learning on your part.

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