The news that the REST API wasn’t going to be included in 4.6 was a disappointment to a lot of people. However this by no means was a death sentence to the API. In fact, several companies have been utilizing the API behind the scenes for a long time now to great success.
Some of the most notable examples of this are The New York Times, Wired, and of course WordPress.com’s Calypso. But there are even more companies putting the API into action. The REST API has clearly been put into action successfully, so perhaps it is ready to be merged with core.
Recently, the Guggenheim Museum in New York released a blog post explaining how its new site was overhauled using WordPress and the REST API. This wildly popular organization, which is removed from the community, identified WordPress as the right CMS to meet their complex agenda for a redesign.
The Guggenheim specializes in modernist, post-modernist, and contemporary art, and strives to be on the cutting edge, making their utilization of the REST API appropriate.
Modern Tribe has also adopted the REST API and wrote about its experience recently in a blog post. Like other companies, Modern Tribe decided to start developing before the API was fully merged into core.
“The API has served us very well, and we’ve got nothing but immense gratitude for all of the work of the REST team,” the post said. “We were sure then, and are now, that the future of the REST API will be bright—but we wanted to start playing with it on our own terms before using it on customer sites.”
The process was mostly seamless, with only one problem, the huge amount of data the REST API returned. The devs spent a lot of time cleaning up the responses to try to make things more efficient.
WebDevStudios has also encountered success using the API. The company implemented the project in a few different ways, focusing on cross site/network communication, data processing server, client interactive, and system services automated pushes. Developer Lead, Ben Lobaugh, worked on the implementation and has noticed a difference.
“The REST API has definitely made passing data around much more efficient,” Lobaugh said. “It has also provided the ability to open site features and data to the world.”
The most changes, however, have come with client interactions.
“As WordPress has moved into the corporate space clients have taken notice and the API has allowed WordPress to more quickly expand into the corporate realm. The ability to tap into the data from their sites to perform analytics and other operations has been invaluable,” Lobaugh said. “It is really exciting to see calls to the REST API being integrated in to products that have common daily use by hundreds of thousands and millions of users!”
So what do these success stories mean for the REST API? Right now, it is unclear. At a contentious Slack meeting in February, Matt Mullenweg expressed his concerns with the API, stalling the project’s merge with core. And while there is still an air of uncertainty surrounding the project, it is clear that the REST API can be successful and has been.
This leaves us with the ultimate question, “Is the REST API ready?” From these examples, it seems like it is. The API is making it easier to communicate not only between various sites, but also with clients.