Dev Thoughts

Musings from my development journey.


Best Ways to Connect to an API in Rails Application

Communicating with APIs is a great way to make your Rails applications more robust. You have lots of tools at your disposal for connecting to APIs. These tools make it easy to connect to the APIs with minimal programming. If you want to connect immediately, check out one of these easy-to-use options.


Typheous makes fast and reliable HTTP requests, allowing you to connect with external APIs quickly and easily. It does this while encapsulating handling logic. This gem consists of three classes, which are Request, Response, and Hydra. Request refers to the process of requesting an HTTP, while Response refers to the HTTP’s response. Hydra refers to the process of making parallel HTTP connections, which is Typheous’ specialty.

You can also add a proxy URL to your options when you use this software, and it does a good job of handling HTTP errors. Though this tool has a lot of features, it remains easy to use, so you can implement it relatively quickly.



HTTParty lets you communicate with external APIs. You use the tool to query web services. After the query, you can examine the results if you want. If you choose to go with the default option, it will output the results as a printed Ruby Object. You have the power override the default so the output is in XML or JSON.


If you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, use OpenURI. It comes with Ruby and allows you to request a page and receive the page’s body. Your system will open up the HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP URL in the same way it would open a file. You can use an optional hash argument to specify additional header fields if needed. You can also customize a few of the other settings, but this is a basic way to connect to an API, so don’t expect a lot of features.

Active Resources

Active Resources is another simple option. Included with Rails, it is easy to set up and can pull REST-based resources into the system. Active Resources offers automated mapping, various life cycle methods, and custom REST methods. If you want a basic solution to connect to APIs, consider using this option.


The Rest-Client gem includes an easy way to connect with RESTful web services. This gem was inspired by the Sinatra micro framework, so it is able to offer the simplicity of Sinatra’s API requests on the large Rails framework. With that in mind, it includes get, put, post, and delete actions that are easy to implement. This is a very simple way to make HTTP requests.

Don’t overthink the process of connecting to APIs with Rails. These tools let you keep it simple so you can get more done with your applications.

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