Say I have a User resource which must always be attached to another type of resource, a Business.

When creating a new User, is it OK to have the POST endpoint use a query parameter to specify the Business to use?

For example:

POST /users?business=123
{"firstName": "John", "lastName": "Smith"}
  • Why not POST /users { "user": {"firstName": "John", "lastName": "Smith"}, "business": 123 } ? Sep 1, 2016 at 15:02
  • 1
    You haven't specified an API paradigm (e.g. REST) you're trying to follow, so yes, it's okay if it follows HTTP (which it does).
    – Evan
    Sep 1, 2016 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can; there is nothing about HTTP that imposes a particular API structure. However, I would suggest you give the subject some thought.

API modelling is all about understanding your domain model; it depends on the relationship between business and user and the relative significance of these entities.

Here are my thoughts as to your main options; I cannot answer this question for you, but this will hopefully help you approach the problem in the right way.


  • A business may contain many users
  • A user may only be linked to one business

If the users are treated as properties or components of a business, then make the users a child-object of the business.

POST /businesses/123/users
{"firstName": "John", "lastName": "Smith"}

If the users are viewed as distinct entities that are only linked to a business, then simply link the user to the business.

POST /users 
{ "user": {"firstName": "John", "lastName": "Smith"}, "business": 123 } 


  • A business may contain many users
  • A user may be linked to many businesses

You could make the link to businesses a property of the user.

POST /users 
{ "user": {"firstName": "John", "lastName": "Smith"}, "businesses": [123, 789] } 

Or, if the link to a business has substantial significance to your domain model, you could make a whole new entity that represents employment.

POST /users 
{ "user": {"firstName": "John", "lastName": "Smith"} } 

POST /employment
{ "user": 345, "business": 123, "commenced": "2016-09-01", "terminated": false } 

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