PHP Serving RESTful APIs Indicating Errors and Failures - Web Development and Design | Tutorial for Java, PHP, HTML, Javascript PHP Serving RESTful APIs Indicating Errors and Failures - Web Development and Design | Tutorial for Java, PHP, HTML, Javascript

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Friday, June 21, 2019

PHP Serving RESTful APIs Indicating Errors and Failures

PHP Serving RESTful APIs


Indicating Errors and Failures


Problem

You want to indicate that a failure occurred.

Solution

Return a 4xx status code for client failures. Provide a message with more information.

       http_response_code(401); // Unauthorized

       $error_body = [
             "error" => "Unauthorized",
             "code" => 1,
             "message" => "Only authenticated users can read " . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'],
             "url" => "http://developer.example.com/error/1"
       ];

       print json_encode($error_body);

Return a 5xx status code for server failures. Provide a message with more information:

       http_response_code(503); // Site down

       $error_body = [
             "error" => "Down for maintenance",
             "code" => 2,
             "message" => "Check back in two hours.",
             "url" => "http://developer.example.com/error/2"
       ];
       print json_encode($error_body);

Discussion

Helpful and informative error messages are a blessing to consumers of your APIs. A good error message is specific, and explains what’s wrong and how (if possible) to fix the problem.

For RESTful servers, this divides into two pieces: the HTTP status code and the error message returned in the response body. HTTP status codes are divided into two large buckets.

The 4xx family of codes indicate client-side failures, such as invalid authentication credentials (401), being forbidden to access the resource (403), or the resource is no longer available (410).

Receiving a 4xx error is not blaming the client, because sometimes it’s impossible for it to know in advance that it’s request is going to be bad (because the user has revoked the authorization token or the server has deprecated an API without notice). Instead, these are problems that can be fixed by the client, by providing the right information (such as valid authentication credentials), modifying the request (only asking for resources it’s allowed to request), or stopping the request entirely (if it’s gone, it’s gone).

The 5xx family of codes are server-side errors. (It’s not you, it’s me.) For example, the service is down (503) or an unexpected error due to a bug in the code (500).

These are problems entirely outside of the client’s control and can only be fixed by the API provider. They cannot be fixed by modifying the request. Instead, they need to wait until the server has fixed the bug, finished maintenance, or regained the ability to handle traffic.

Table  HTTP status codes used in errors

Status code Meaning                       Description                                                                                                  
400              Bad Request                 Bad syntax or other generic error
401               Unauthorized               Must provide valid authentication
403              Forbidden                      Not allowed to access the resource for reasons other than invalid                                                                      authentication
404               Not Found                    Resource doesn’t exist (but may in the future)
405               Method Not Allowed  Cannot call that method on this resource
410                Gone                              The resource no longer exists and never will again
429               Too Many Requests    Past your quota or rate limit
500               Internal Server Error Generic server error
503               Service Unavailable    Server is overloaded or down for maintenance
___________________________________________________________________

However, a code by itself is rarely sufficient to fully explain the error. For this, you should provide an error message in the response, ideally in the same format as the request itself (such as JSON or XML).

The minimal error message is a string of text that describes the problem. However, though this explains the error, it’s hard to write code to parse from a string. Therefore, it’s best to also include a numeric error code and a short string. For extra credit, include a URL to an HTML page that describes the issue in more detail or allows people to ask questions about how to resolve the problem.

For example:

       $http_error_code = 401;
       $error_body = [
             "error" => "Unauthorized",
             "code" => 1,
             "message" => "Only authenticated users can read " . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'],
             "url" => "http://developer.example.com/error/1"
       ];
       http_response_code($http_error_code); // Unauthorized
       print json_encode($error_body);


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