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WordPress REST API – What is it and how to use it?

WordPress REST API – What is it and how to use it?

The WordPress REST API has revolutionized the way developers build web applications. Indeed, it allows for more flexible integration between WordPress and a multitude of other platforms and technologies. This is particularly true for Headless CMS approaches. Because, WordPress serves as the back-end for content management, while the front-end can be built with various technologies. This provides more flexibility, speed and improved user experience. In this article, we will explore the WordPress REST API. We'll talk about how it works, and how you can leverage it to create modern websites.

What is a REST API?

A Representational State Transfer (REST) API is a set of design principles for network communications systems that leverage HTTP methods to obtain or send data. REST APIs allow developers to manipulate representations of web resources through predictable defined sets of operations (often GET, POST, PUT, DELETE). All this without retaining state between requests. Therefore, it makes it easier to build interoperable web and mobile applications.

Example of API on an e-commerce site

In an e-commerce site, a REST API can be used to:

  • display products on a page,
  • manage the shopping cart,
  • or process payments.

For example, when a user adds a product to their cart, an API POST request is sent to refresh the cart on the server.

Some examples of relatively popular APIs are:

  • Google Map API — To display the map or manipulate address data
  • PayPal API.

Read also: 20 APIs to boost your online activities .

Modern web applications and REST APIs

Modern web applications typically leverage REST APIs to separate the front end from the back end. This allows developers to choose the best technologies for each and optimize performance. This architecture is at the heart of Headless CMS, where the back-end (like WordPress) manages content and the front-end presents that content to users dynamically.

Principle of operation of an API

The operating principle of an API is based on requests and responses via the HTTP protocol. The client sends a request to the API (for example, to retrieve, create, refresh, or delete data). Then the API responds with the requested data, often in JSON or XML format.

Tools for testing APIs

There are many tools for testing REST APIs, such as:

  • Postman,
  • Insomnia,
  • and cURL.

These tools allow you to simulate requests to the API and see the responses. This helps make development and debugging easier.

WordPress Rest API

The WordPress REST API allows developers to interact with the WordPress site remotely by sending and receiving JSON data. Indeed, it can be used to read and write data on the site. You can, for example, use it to create posts, pages, media and comments. This is why WordPress is the ideal choice for the backend of a Headless CMS application.

The base URL of the WordPress API

The base URL to access the WordPress REST API is usually http://votresite.com/wp-json/wp/v2/ , where "yoursite.com" should be replaced with the URL of your WordPress site .

Endpoints

The WordPress REST API offers many endpoints for interacting with different types of content. For example, /posts for posts, /pages for pages, and /media for media.

API extensibility

The WordPress REST API is highly extensible. This is because it allows developers to add new endpoints. You can also modify the default responses, integrate custom features to meet specific needs. We particularly use the REST API with ACF PRO for advanced custom fields.

The case study: Prositeweb and innovation in Headless CMS websites

Prositeweb is at the forefront of web innovation, leveraging the WordPress REST API to create custom Headless CMS solutions. This allows us to combine performance, security and exceptional user experience. This section explores how the agency uses a combination of ACF PRO , Gutenberg , and the REST API to redefine website creation.

Winning combination: ACF PRO, Gutenberg, and the REST API

We combine ACF PRO, Gutenberg, and REST API to create better websites.

ACF PRO for advanced content management

Prositeweb uses ACF PRO to extend the capabilities of WordPress, integrating custom fields that make content management more flexible and powerful. This allows customers to easily structure and enrich their content without complex technical interventions.

Gutenberg for visual editing

The Gutenberg block editor offers an intuitive user interface for creating content, allowing users to compose pages with great ease and creative freedom. Prositeweb leverages this functionality to provide a visually appealing and accessible content management experience.

REST API for smooth integration

The WordPress REST API is the crucial link that allows Prositeweb to separate the content management back-end from the website front-end. Using the REST API, the agency can retrieve and display content from WordPress in web applications developed with modern frameworks such as React or Vue.js.

Advantages of the Headless approach

  • Performance and Security : Headless websites designed by Prositeweb benefit from improved loading speed and better security, thanks to the separation of content and presentation and hosting separately from the front end.
  • Design Flexibility : This method frees developers from the traditional constraints of WordPress themes, allowing them to create unique, tailored user experiences.

Test the WordPress REST API

Below we will see some important steps to better use and test the WordPress API.

Run a read request

Testing the WordPress REST API can start with something as simple as a GET request to retrieve the latest posts. Using the base URL http://votresite.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts , you can send this request through a browser or a tool like Postman to see the JSON response containing the post details.

And, in writing?

To perform writing operations, such as creating a new post, you must use a POST request and authenticate with the WordPress API. This may require authentication methods like cookies, OAuth tokens, or API keys, depending on your server configuration and WordPress installation. Here is a basic example of how to initiate a POST request to create a post, provided you have the necessary permissions:

This curl request sends data in JSON format to the WordPress REST API to create a new post. Note that "VotreJetonAuth" will need to be replaced with your actual authentication token.

Leverage the REST API to create Headless CMS websites

Combining the WordPress REST API with ACF PRO and Block Editor opens up vast possibilities for developers looking to create Headless CMS websites. ACF PRO allows adding complex custom fields that can easily be managed in WordPress and exposed via REST API. By combining this with the Block Editor for richly formatted content, developers can build fully custom and interactive front ends that consume and display content managed in WordPress dynamically.

This approach not only allows a clear separation between content (managed in WordPress) and presentation (managed by the front-end), but also provides great flexibility to deploy the same content across various platforms and devices, while maintaining a optimized user experience.

Conclusion

The WordPress REST API is a powerful tool for developers. It allows you to create modern and interactive web experiences while taking advantage of the robustness and ease of content management of WordPress.

That you build

  • an e-commerce site,
  • a mobile application,
  • or a Headless CMS website,

The REST API, combined with tools like ACF PRO and Block Editor, provides unparalleled flexibility and power for integrating WordPress into your web projects. With a good understanding of how it works and best practices for using it, you can unlock the full potential of WordPress as a content management platform for your modern web applications.

Do you have a project in mind? Contact us .

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Gilblas Ngunte Possi

Gilblas Ngunte Possi

Founder and Full-Stack Developer at Prositeweb.

My proficiency with modern tools and a keen analytical sense regarding information technology enable me to provide superior guidance in the development and implementation of your web solutions.

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