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Four REST API Versioning Strategies

At xMatters, we always follow the SemVer specification – we update our API’s major version whenever there are any breaking changes. We also keep track of minor and patch versions, which we use when introducing new functionality and when making backward-compatible updates. When we release a new major version of the xMatters REST API, clients can choose to either continue using an existing major version or migrate to the new one.

One of the challenges with exposing services is that clients may not want to update their applications when the API changes. This can be handled through a versioning strategy, which allows clients to continue using the existing REST API and migrate their applications to a newer one when they are ready.

There are four popular ways to create a REST API:

1. URI-path versioning

REST API versioning through the URI path

One way to version a REST API is to include the version number in the URI path. This strategy is used by xMatters, DevOps teams at Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, and many more.

The 1.2.3 format is used internally by the API, and it looks like this:


  • A new major version of the API is released. This signifies that a new API has been created, and the version number is used to route requests to the correct host.
  • These updates are transparent to the client and used internally for backward-compatible updates. They are usually communicated in a change log to inform clients about a new functionality or a bug fix.
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In order to access the latest version of the API, clients can use URI routing. Because cache keys (in this case URIs) change with each new release, clients can easily cache resources.

  • Cache resources are easy to access for clients.
  • One solution to this problem is to introduce breaking changes into the API; this would require branching the codebase.

2. Query-parameter versioning

REST API versioning through the query string

Include the version number as a query parameter when making requests to the API.

REST APIs can be easily versioned by including the version number in your requests. For example, you could specify “version=1” in order to retrieve information about the latest version of an API.

  • Versioning an API can be straightforward, and it’s easy to default to the latest version.
  • Although query parameters can be used to route requests to the proper API version, they are more difficult to use than traditional URL parameters.

3. Custom headers versioning

This version of the document accepts the 1.0 version of the specification.

 REST APIs can also be versioned by providing custom headers with the version number included as an attribute. This allows for different versions of the API to be deployed without interfering with each other.

  • The URI doesn’t include any versioning information.
  • To use the custom headers feature in your WordPress blog, you need to create a file called “header.php” and add the following code:

    1 2 3 4

4. Content-based versioning

For content negotiation, our last strategy is to version through content. This means that we will create different versions of our content in order to get the desired outcomes from a potential customer.

This approach allows us to version a single resource representation instead of versioning the entire API which gives us granular control overversioning. It also creates a smaller footprint in the code base as we don’t have to fork the entire application when creating a new version.

One of the drawbacks of using HTTP-based APIs is that they are less accessible than those that use URIs. This approach requires setting up HTTP headers in order to communicate with the API, which can make it more difficult to test and explore it using a browser.

  • The API versioning solution allows us to maintain a single, specific resource representation for the API instead of versioning the entire API, which reduces the complexity and size of the API. Additionally, this solution does not require implementation of URI routing rules.
  • Header requirements for media types can make it more difficult to test and explore the API using a browser.

You can change versions without disrupting clients, or incrementally change clients as the APIs are changed. If you choose to stop supporting a representation, …

When should I use API versioning?

APIs only need to be up-versioned when a breaking change is made.a change in the format of the response data for one or more calls.a change in the request or response type (i.e. changing an integer to a float)removing any part of the API.What is API Versioning in REST? › RESTAbout Featured Snippets

How do I track my API request?

How to Track Number of API Calls Made by Each Partner or … – › blog › api-analytics › usage-tracking › How-To-Track-.. · A session alias table will keep track of all outstanding tokens a customer has created and map those to a single user_id. You can keep an alias …

How do you prefer versioning an API?

Here are four API versioning best practices you need to know:Enable backwards compatibility.Refresh API documentation to reflect new versions.Adapt API versioning to business requirements.Put API security considerations at the forefront.Set your API versions up to scale.Best Practices For Your API Versioning Strategy – › blog › api-versioningAbout Featured Snippets

How do I maintain versioning in REST API?

There are four common ways to version a REST API.Versioning through URI Path.Versioning through query parameters.Versioning through custom headers.Versioning through content negotiation.Summary.Four REST API Versioning Strategies – › DevOps & SREAbout Featured Snippets

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