What are Idempotent and Non-Idempotent methods?

After reading this article, you will be confident about Idempotent and Non-Idempotent methods?
Let’s start by understanding the meaning of Idempotent.
Idempotent means  “unchanged in value following multiplication by itself”

Idempotent Methods

Idempotent HTTP methods are those methods which will not make any modification event after calling multiple times.
For eg – If your client makes a DELETE request by calling this api   –   /myapi/id/50
It will delete the record with Id 50. Now think, what happens when the same request gets call multiple times.
Does it make any sense? Does it affect your server anymore?
The answer is NO, why because the record with Id = 50 has been already deleted and does not matter how many times you call the same API.

Same for the PUT operation.

Suppose below API makes a PUT call to update some information

Now this request will update the record as per given form data. Try to make multiple calls with the same API, what will happen. It will affect the same record again and again and will have no further impact on the server side.

So Idempotent methods are those methods which do not make any modification even after multiple executions. GET, PUT and DELETE are common Idempotent HTTP methods.

Non-Idempotent Methods

Non-idempotent HTTP methods are those who do effect on the server on every call.

POST method is used to create new resources on the server side. So, POST is non-idempotent methods.
It means every time you make  POST call, it writes something at the server end.

Safe Methods

Safe methods are those HTTP methods which does not modify the resources. GET and Head are safe methods.
GET only have view rights i.e. it is read only method. So, no matter how many times you execute a GET method, nothing will change at server end.

GET request can be cached.

A very good example is browser refresh button.
Just browse a page and press refresh button or F5 after few moment it will just do a GET request and serves you the same page.
But, if you have submitted a form on a web page in this case if you hit F5 or press refresh button you will get an alert/warning message because it is not a GET request or not a safe method request.

MethodIdempotentNon IdempotentSAFE

Hope it will give you a clear idea about Idempotent and Non Idempotent methods.

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