What is the WordPress REST API?
The WordPress REST API is coming… OK it means REpresentational State Transfer Application Program Interface.
That will probably mean absolutely nothing to you. Fortunately, I can explain it in a relatively straight forward way. What it basically means is that all the content of your WordPress website, blog posts, pages, e-commerce products, users etc. can be accessed via very simple, programming-language independent, commands from within any other program that has access to the internet.
As you are aware websites basically consist of a database where all the data (information) is stored, then some software extracts the information out of the database and displays it on your screen in the form of a webpage. To use a language analogy, imagine that your database only speaks English, as long as you talk to it in English, you can get information in and out of your database no problem. If you want a different program to access your database, that other program will not speak English, so won’t be able to ‘talk’ to your database, without some SERIOUS translation assistance.
This is of course very limiting, because wouldn’t it be great if your accounts and stock control program could ‘talk’ to your online shop, or maybe what about an App for your phone that could simply use all that information in your website, without having to re-create all of the information in another database that the App can understand.
Well, you can see where I’m going with this. The WordPress REST API does ALL the translation AUTOMATICALLY via a few very simple commands. It essentially makes your WordPress installation talk Swahili, The Universal language that everyone can understand. Well no one uses Swahili but you get the analogy!
So you can see why this development does in fact change the game completely. You can have an App access your WordPress website, which in itself has many many possibilities, e-commerce being the massive and most obvious one. But also, if you have an idea for an App, you can now drive all the content in that App from within WordPress, no learning curve, no complex systems, just a familiar, easy to use interface, job done.