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When to Use the WordPress REST API – and When Not To – WPMU DEV

In this post, I’m going to identify the circumstances and projects for which you might want to use the REST API, and those for which you won’t. I’ll cover this in three areas:


The WP-REST API is particularly useful when you want to link WordPress with APIs provided by other platforms, or you’re using it as the basis for an application written using a language other than PHP. There are some examples of real world sites already doing this.


If you’re building a web app, the REST API gives you the flexibility to use whichever language is most appropriate (normally JavaScript) to do that. Building your app in JavaScript means you can create screens that work in the same way as an offline application, with complex interactions, use of data and no need to keep moving between screens. Examples of web apps that you may have used include various apps such as Google Calendar, Gmail, and the company’s document creation apps. If you wanted to create something similar using data stored by WordPress, then the REST API makes it possible.


Alternatively, if you want to take the data you’ve got stored in a WordPress database and use it to power another kind of app such as a mobile app, again the REST API makes it possible. So, for example, if you have an eCommerce site and you want to provide your customers with an app they can use to buy from you on their phones, the REST API could be used to link the two.


There still isn’t a huge number of developers or agencies using the REST API for live sites, partly because the API is still under development and partly because it’s a new technology that people still need to learn and experiment with.



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