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API Fundamentals

An API (application programming interface) is a set of rules that define how applications or devices can connect to and communicate with each other. A REST API is an API that conforms to the design principles of the REST (Representational State Transfer) architectural style.

Data Format

All data created, updated, or retrieved via the Showpad APIs must be in JSON encoded with UTF-8.

Requests

In a basic REST API setup, a client sends an HTTP request to the Showpad server, which processes it and answers with an HTTP response.

HTTP Methods

Showpad uses the following HTTP methods to map CRUD (Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete) operations to HTTP requests.

MethodDescription
GETRetrieves the representation of a single resource or a list of resources.
HEADSame as GET, but without the response body.
POSTCreates or updates an instance of a resource.
PUTUpdates or replaces an existing resource.
DELETEDeletes an instance of a resource.

Query Parameters

You can include parameters in your requests to control the returned data. Query parameters are attached to the end of the URL path. The following parameters are available for most Showpad APIs:

ParameterRequest TypeDescriptionExample
limitGET ResourceLink CollectionLimits the number of retrieved resources.A limit of 25 will only return 25 resources.
offsetGET ResourceLink CollectionOffsets the retrieved Resource Links.An offset of 3 will skip the first three results.
fieldsGET Resource
or
GET ResourceLink Collection
A comma separated list of attributes to be returned in the response. Typically used to make the response lighter.Specifying id as a field parameter would retrieve a collection containing only ids.

Response Codes

Showpad uses conventional HTTP response codes to indicate the success or failure of an API request. In general:

  • Codes in the 2xx range indicate success.

  • Codes in the 4xx range indicate an error based on the information provided in the request. Errors can be caused by many factors, such as invalid parameters, authentication errors, and rate limits.

2xx Codes

CodeNameDescriptionExample
200OKThe request was successful.GET /users.json will return a collection of user links.
201CreatedThe resource was created.POST /users.json (if the data entered was valid).

4xx Codes

CodeNameDescriptionExample
400Bad RequestThe request is malformed.
401UnauthorizedThe request lacks valid authentication credentials.An incorrect or expired OAuth2 access token was sent.
403ForbiddenThe request uses credentials that are not authorized for access.Divisions are only accessible by division-enabled organizations.
404Not FoundThe requested resource could not be found.Specifying an non-existent ID.
405Method Not FoundReturned when an invalid HTTP method is used.POST /tickets.json is unsupported.
409ConflictThe request conflicts with the current data.Creating a user with a non-unique username.
429Too Many RequestsToo many requests have been sent within a specific amount of time.

5xx Codes

CodeNameDescriptionExample
500Internal Server ErrorThe server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request.