Web API And Web Service: Introduction And Key Differences



Web API and Web Services are those overlapping tech terms that people regularly get confused with. You may have heard these words being used mutually but are they even the same thing?

While they do overlap, sometimes Web Services and APIs are two very different concepts. If you need a very simple and quick explanation you’re at the right place. In this article, we will be learning about Web API and Web Services briefly.


What is a Web API?

The acronym API stands for Application Programming Interface. It's a software interface that allows two programs to communicate with one other without the need for the user to intervene. APIs allow a product or service to communicate with other products and services without having a thorough understanding of how they work.


What is a web service?

A web service is a set of open protocols and standards that are extensively used for data transfer between systems and applications.

Software applications are written using different programming languages and could be run on multiple platforms. It allows you to use web services for exchanging data over computer networks.


Key differences between Web API and Web Services.

  1. Web services are a set of open-source protocols and standards for sharing data across systems or applications, and steam web API interview questions are a software interface that enables two apps to connect without the need for human interaction.
  2. For REST, SOAP, and XML-RPC communication, web services are utilized, whereas API is used for any type of connection.
  3. Web services only support HTTP, whereas APIs support both HTTP and HTTPS.
  4. XML is supported by web services, while XML and JSON are supported via APIs.
  5. APIs are all Web services, but Web services aren't all APIs.


Types of web services

Web services can be used in different ways. The two types of web services used widely are SOAP and RESTful web services.

SOAP: SOAP is a protocol that was designed before REST came into the picture. The main idea to create SOAP was ensuring that programs built on different platforms and programming languages khud security exchange data.

REST: It was created to deal with components on a physical device, such as media components or even objects. Any web service defined on the principles of REST could be known as a RESTful web service. REST uses normal HTTP verbs of getting, POST, PUT, and DELETE for working with required components.


Features of Web API

Here are some essential features of API:

  • Efficiency
  • Wider reach
  • Customizable
  • Personalization
  • Data ownership
  • Easy integration with GUI
  • Time effective
  • Language-independent


Features of Web services

Here are some features of web services:

  • Loosely coupled
  • Synchronous or asynchronous functionality
  • Ability to support remote procedure calls
  • Supports document exchange


 

Differences between Web API and Web Services

Below are some differences between Web services and API:

Web Services

API

All web services are API.

All APIs aren't Web services.

Web services support XML.

Web API mediatypeformatter is used to format responses into XML, JSON, or any other format.

Web protocol is required to send or receive data over the network. Therefore it has a heavy-weight architecture.

API has a lightweight architecture.

Any client who knows XML can utilize web services.

A client who knows JSON or XML can utilize the API.


 

REST, SOAP, and XML-RPC are the three communication methods used by Web Services.

APIs can be used for any style of communication.

Web services only support HTTP protocol.

API supports HTTP/HTTPS protocol: URL request and response headers, etc.



 

Advantages of API services

Below are some benefits of using steam web API services:

  1. Because it works with HTTP verbs GET, PUT, POST, and Remove, the API enables standard to create, read, update, and delete activities.
  2. API helps in exposing service data to the browser.
  3. It is dependent upon HTTP that is easy to define and expose in a RESTful way.

 

Also read: What Is API Security Testing?


Advantages of Web services

Below are some advantages of Web services:

  1. They offer fast communication within and across organizations.
  2. Web services exist independently of other services.
  3. Interoperability has the most priority.
  4. By using web applications you will be assisted to publish its message or function to the rest of the world.
  5. Web services will help in solving interoperability issues by offering different applications as a way to link their data.
  6. Web services help in exchanging data between different applications and different platforms.
  7. It allows applications to communicate, exchange data, and share services among themselves.
  8. Web services are particularly designed to be used as a web page request and help in receiving data.
  9. It acts as a set of building bricks, making it simple to reuse web service components in different applications. Internet protocols such as Apache and Axis2 are used to deliver Web Services. It offers WSDL and HTTP-based services.


Disadvantages of API services

The following are some of the major disadvantages of using API services:

  1. The process of developing web API interview questions takes a long time.
  2. A set scale is required.
  3. Boundary demarcation that isn't exact
  4. Programming knowledge is required to create APIs.
  5. The expense of maintenance is quite expensive.
  6. When testing APIs, it may crash.
  7. Web-based services have several drawbacks.


Disadvantages of Web services

The following are some of the major disadvantages of using Web services:

  1. It doesn't work with browsers and doesn't take advantage of new web advancements (Semantic Web, AJAX XMLHttpRequest, etc.)
  2. Although some web services are simple to use, they can have certain drawbacks.
  3. There is a necessity for unique equipment requirements whenever a service is created to accommodate a range of clients.


Conclusion

A web service is a network-based resource that performs a specific activity, whereas an API is an interface that allows you to build on the data and functionality of other apps. Obviously, the two are related, since all web services are APIs, but not all APIs are our Web services.

Both Web API and Web Services are at their core very useful and very much used today. Nevertheless, all the web services are associated with SOAP and service-oriented architecture that is falling out of favor.