I am currently designing a JSON RESTful API which should have a boolean endpoint such as /item/vote which can either be false meaning that a user has not voted for a specific item or true meaning that he has voted.

I am currently struggling to select one out of multiple possible designs:

HTTP status codes

PUT /item/vote => set to true
DELETE /item/vote => set to false
GET /item/vote => status code 204 => true | status code 404 => false


PUT /item/vote HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json

    "vote": true
GET /item/vote HTTP/1.1

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json

    "vote": true

Is any of these two approaches better or is it just a matter of preference? I am currently preferring the HTTP status code approach because I have already seen it.

  • 2
    How do you distinguish a real 404 from a successful no vote?
    – user156792
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 19:50
  • There is such thing. You can just vote. Similar to the (old) way of liking on Facebook.
    – 1' OR 1 --
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 20:12
  • What is your mechanism by which you know that a GET request to a resource actually completed? How do you distinguish this case from a the very real case where the endpoint could simply be Not Found.
    – user156792
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 20:20
  • 1
    In any case the resource should be named like a thing (voteStatus) and not like a verb vote.
    – usr
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 20:59
  • 1
    vote can be a noun.
    – Eric Stein
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 0:03

1 Answer 1


The second approach is highly preferable. PUT is intended to replace the resource on the server with the content you're PUTting. Likewise, DELETE is intended to delete a resource, not to set its value.

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