Sorting in REST API

Notes on implementing sorting in REST API.

Query parameter: sort

With relation database at back, I would be using order by SQL clause while querying the db and it goes like order by col_name desc.

Therefore, I need to implement a way for API clients to pass this info, which is:

  • column name
  • order direction

So we can ask this info as:

  • two separate query parameters
    OR
  • one query parameter with column name and order direction combined using a separator

For now I'll go ahead with second option as I am thinking of supporting sorting by multiple columns as well thus second option seems straight forward simple to me.

Below will be the format:

GET /stocks?sort=price:desc

for multi-column sort:

GET /stocks?sort=price:desc&sort=name:asc

Validation

For security against SQL injections, I am going to implement a simple whitelist approach. Wherein the column name and sort direction will be checked against a predefined column name list and asc/desc values. Not so fancy but works.

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