Keeping Ahead of the REST

Our team loves any new technology that enhances website functionality and improves the user experience of clients’ websites. So we regularly attend developer and digital web conferences to immerse ourselves in key developments and continue to build our knowledge. Earlier this year we went to A Day of REST in London; a one-day conference dedicated to discussing and showing examples of the new WordPress REST API* in use. This developer-centric technology is very important to the future of the platform and will open up new opportunities in the WordPress world by really enhancing backend development. Essentially, it will allow developers to create more customer-focused solutions, applicable across all devices, where integration and flexibility is key.

REST API is a way of opening up WordPress so that lots of other services can communicate with it; developers can use whatever programming languages they wish to read, edit, create and delete WordPress data, since the data is stored in JSON, which is widely supported in many programming languages. It enables WordPress to be used more like a database so you can put in and pull out information for any web apps or mobile.

We’ll soon start to see websites with more interactive elements that refreshes content automatically. At the conference, Scott Taylor used the new technology to build a live minute-by-minute news update system with WordPress. We also saw how WIRED has been using WordPress REST API on discrete areas of the website, such as the liveblog, a most recent posts module and for maintaining data between staging and production sites during a website redesign.

This will open up the possibilities for hundreds more WordPress based mobile apps to be developed, so users aren’t restricted to the traditional WordPress backend because it allows content from other sites and applications to be displayed regardless of whether they use WordPress themselves. Although we’ve built a huge amount of WordPress websites that use mobile responsive themes, there hasn’t been a really true integration across iOS and Android yet and there are high hopes that REST API will pave the way for many different integrations. This is particularly important since consumers are spending much more time on mobile apps than web mobile, so the fact that WordPress REST API is moving towards this is a real enabler.

We also heard at the conference about how REST API will make the backend of WordPress much easier to administer and we found out how all-in-one restaurant website solution HappyTables is being used in this way. The WordPress.com VIP service has already created a new backend system based on the javascript framework React, which uses the REST API too.

Many developers don’t yet really know how it will be used in the mainstream, but the Preface Studios team will be closely following the release of new apps using REST API as they are released and look forward to seeing the creative ways it will be used.

Here at Preface Studios, our team of digital experts always makes sure we’re up-to-date on the latest developments in the world of digital web design. Take a look at some of our recent projects to find out how we apply new developments in practice.

*JSON – JavaScript Object Notation – most programming languages can interpret and encode JSON already, so it allows the exchange of data between software written in two different programming language.

REST – Representational State Transfer – helps programmes talk to each other.

API – Application Programming Interface – an agreed set of standardised ways a piece of software can be used; a connection between different pieces of software, allowing them to exchange information in order to work together.

If you would like advice on how to optimise your website performance, please give the Preface Studios team a call on +44 (0) 1252 820 022 or fill in our online project enquiry form.