by • July 11, 2022
APIs and web services are two overlapping entities in the tech world. While the two share some similarities, they are often used interchangeably. However, they aren’t really the same thing. So it’s okay if you’re a little confused about these two tech terms. Set your worries aside because we are here to demystify the concepts of web services and APIs for you today.
This article will outline APIs, web services, and their key differences and similarities. Read on to learn more, or feel free to schedule a call now to talk with one of DreamFactory’s expert API specialists to discover how API integration can elevate your business operation.
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An application programming interface, or API, allows multiple applications to talk to one another, sending information back and forth with ease. A fundamental principle to understand when it comes to APIs is that they are comprised of a set of functions that allow applications to access data and interact with external software, operating systems, and microservices. In addition, APIs enable users to access and build upon the data and functionality of existing applications.
APIs have been around for a long time. Shortly after the first computer application was created, developers began linking them together. Thus, the API was born. Most APIs used today are web APIs as they expose a web application’s data and functionality over the world wide web. Every time you log in to Facebook, stream Netflix shows, or book flights online, you are using APIs. These programming interfaces seem to be everywhere, and some have even described them as “the glue holding the Internet together.”
Two of the most common types of API designs are the REST API and the SOAP APIs.
Related Reading: APIs and Logistics: How APIs Are Changing the Face of the Logistics Industry
Some key benefits associated with APIs include:
The key drawbacks associated with APIs include:
If you’re interested in creating an API but don’t know where to start, it’s time to connect with a DreamFactory API specialist today. Schedule a call today to learn all about API suppliers, API manufacturing, and the API market as a whole.
A web service is a collection of open protocols and standards used to exchange data between systems and applications and allow machine-to-machine interaction over a network. Essentially, web services allow you to exchange data over computer networks. A web service is a resource that is made available over the internet, which means that it requires a network to function.
A web service application architecture is a modular service-oriented application architecture where applications that comprise it are connected by web services. In many cases, developers use web services to connect microservices and monolithic applications to form a larger application.
It is common for services-oriented application architectures to include a mix of microservices and monolithic applications. It is also common for them to use a combination of APIs and web services to integrate the apps and microservices that comprise them.
Web services are generally associated with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), an architectural pattern for designing software applications. In SOA, features are split up and made available as services in a network. In addition, web services often use SOAP protocol where XML data is shared through HTTP requests. However, web services can also use REST, UDDI, and XML-RPC.
Related Reading: Microservices vs. Web Services
Some key benefits associated with web services include:
Some key drawbacks associated with web services include:
Now that we’ve outlined both APIs and web services, let’s break them down side by side in an API vs. web service comparison.
In addition, some of the key differences and similarities between APIs and web services are outlined in the table below.
Related Reading: Why Calculate the Cost of APIs and How To Get Started
If you’re ready to discover how implementing APIs can help elevate your company, then DreamFactory is here to help. From web development to software development to data management to API testing, DreamFactory has you covered. Register today to discover DreamFactory’s new features and to try out the platform for yourself!
As a seasoned content moderator with a keen eye for detail and a passion for upholding the highest standards of quality and integrity in all of their work, Spencer Nguyen brings a professional yet empathetic approach to every task.
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