Have you ever typed an address on the search engine only for it to return something long and sophisticated, with equals signs and question marks?
For example, you type www.pleasehelp.com, only for this URL to manifest: https://www.pleasehelp.com:80/services/search?q=1&456+true&will
This might seem confusing, but when broken down into various elements, it can be easy to understand. For a website to be more useful, it needs to store data. On a variety of servers, this is achieved using things like session state server-side.
What are API Query Parameters?
API Query parameters can be defined as the optional key-value pairs that appear after the question mark in the URL. Basically, they are extensions of the URL that are utilized to help determine specific content or action based on the data being delivered. Query parameters are appended to the end of the URL, using a ‘?’. The question mark sign is used to separate path and query parameters.
If you want to add multiple query parameters, an ‘&’ sign is placed in between them to form what is known as a query string. It can feature various object types with distinct lengths such as arrays, strings, and numbers.
It critical to note that query parameters can play a pivotal role in attribution, however, it is vitally essential to ensure that the attribution strategy is in the cross-platform, and it is performing everything it can.
Query Parameter Examples
In this URL, there are two query parameters, sort, and page, with ASC and 2 being their values, respectively.
In the URL above, the bolded values after the ‘?’ are the query parameters, q=database&ion-all (query string).
Query vs. Path Parameters (differences)
The first difference between query and path parameters is their position in the URL. While the query parameters appear on the right side of the ‘?’ in the URL, path parameters come before the question mark sign.
Secondly, the query parameters are used to sort/filter resources. On the other hand, path parameters are used to identify a specific resource or resources.
You can’t omit values in path parameters since they are part of the URL. On the other hand, query parameters are added at the end of the URL, and thus can allow omission of some values as long as the serializing standards are followed.
Query parameters have unique attributes which help to define resources in a better way. Path parameters, on the other hand, have dynamic resources, which act upon more granular objects of the resource.
When Should You Use Query Parameters?
There are several cases that warrant the use of query parameters. They can be used in filtering criteria, sorting criteria, or to represent the current page number in a paginated collection. Additionally, query parameters can be used in API requests that retrieve data. They are ideal to be passed to various methods to extend the functionality of the API.