How to Create APIs with Ruby on Rails? Benefits of APIs in Ruby on Rails?

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What is API

Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, are a collection of protocols, procedures, and tools used in the development of software applications. APIs define how different software components should interact with each other, and enable developers to create new applications and services by leveraging existing code.

In the context of Ruby on Rails, an API can be thought of as a set of rules and conventions for interacting with a web application or service. This might include defining the types of requests that can be made, the format of the data that can be sent and received, and the authentication mechanisms required to access the API.

Ruby on Rails is a popular web development framework that allows developers to build web applications quickly and easily. One of the key features of Rails is its ability to create APIs that can be consumed by other applications.

Steps of creating an API with Ruby on Rails

Step 1: Create a new Rails application

First, let’s create a new Rails application by running the following command in the terminal:

rails new my_api –api

This will create a new Rails application with API-only mode enabled.

Step 2: Create a controller

Next, let’s create a controller that will handle the API requests.

rails g controller api

This will generate a new controller file called api_controller.rb in the app/controllers directory.

Step 3: Define API endpoints

Now let’s define some API endpoints. In the api_controller.rb file, add the following code:

class ApiController < ApplicationController

def hello

render json: { message: ‘Hello, world!’ }



This defines a hello endpoint that will return a JSON response with a message.

Step 4: Define routes

Next, we need to define routes for our API. In the config/routes.rb file, add the following code:

Rails.application.routes.draw do

namespace :api do

get ‘hello’, to: ‘api#hello’



This defines a route for our hello endpoint.

Step 5: Test the API

Now that we’ve defined our API, let’s test it out. Start the Rails server by running the following command in the terminal:

rails s

Then, open your web browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000/api/hello. You should see a JSON response with the message “Hello, world!”.

Step 6: Add authentication (optional)

If you want to add authentication to your API, Rails provides several options such as Devise or JWT.You can select the choice that most closely matches your needs.

In this example, we’ll use Devise. First, add Devise to your Gemfile:

gem ‘devise’

Run the subsequent commands in the terminal after that:

rails g devise:install

rails g devise User

rails db:migrate

This will install Devise, generate a User model, and run the database migration.

Next, add the following code to the api_controller.rb file:

class ApiController < ApplicationController

before_action :authenticate_user!

def hello

render json: { message: “Hello, #{}!” }



This will ensure that only authenticated users can access the hello endpoint, and will also display the email of the current user in the response.

Finally, add the following code to the config/routes.rb file:

Rails.application.routes.draw do

namespace :api do

devise_for :users

get ‘hello’, to: ‘api#hello’



This will add the Devise routes for user authentication.

Benefits of API in Ruby on Rails?

  1. Improved Scalability APIs enable you to develop scalable web applications that can handle large volumes of traffic without compromising performance. By separating the front-end from the back-end of your application, you can optimize your server resources and reduce response times. This makes your application more efficient and scalable, allowing you to serve more users with the same resources.
  2. Better User Experience APIs provide a better user experience by enabling seamless integration with other applications and services. With APIs, you can easily integrate your application with social media platforms, payment gateways, and other third-party services. This allows users to access your application from multiple devices and platforms, making it more accessible and user-friendly.
  3. Increased Flexibility APIs enable you to develop applications that are more flexible and adaptable to changing business requirements. By separating the front-end from the back-end, you can modify the user interface without affecting the functionality of your application. This makes it easier to adapt your application to changing market demands and user preferences.
  4. Better Security APIs provide better security for your web application by enabling you to control access to your application’s resources. You can restrict access to certain resources based on user roles and permissions, and also monitor access to your application’s resources in real-time. This helps to prevent unauthorized access to your application and protect your user data.
  5. Easier Integration with Mobile Applications APIs make it easier to integrate your web application with mobile applications, allowing users to access your application from their smartphones and tablets. This increases the reach of your application, making it more accessible to users on the go. APIs also provide a more seamless user experience by enabling users to access your application’s resources without having to switch between different applications.

Also read: Top 5 Factors Which Will Decide the Future Demand of Ruby Programming


APIs provide several benefits for web developers using Ruby on Rails. They improve scalability, enhance the user experience, increase flexibility, provide better security, and make it easier to integrate your application with mobile applications. With the growing popularity of APIs, Ruby on Rails developers can take advantage of this technology to build better web applications that meet the needs of their users. Creating an API with Ruby on Rails is easy and straightforward. By following these steps, you can quickly build a robust API that can be consumed by other applications. With the help of authentication tools like Devise, you can also ensure that your API is secure and only accessible to authorized users.

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