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Web API vs REST API: 5 Key Differences

web api vs rest api/rest api

With technological advancements, various types of Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, have been introduced in the market. Designed to cater to various requirements, APIs are slowly becoming integral to software development. The most popular APIs include REST and Web API. Although they both may appear to be pretty similar, the two have major differences. In order to decide which one among the two would be the ideal one for you, you must properly analyze Web API vs REST API.

With this article, we aim to understand Web API vs REST API better and help you understand which would be most appropriate for your needs. Read on!

Introduction to REST API

web api vs rest api: An illustration of REST API

Contrary to popular belief, REST is neither a tool, protocol, or library. Instead, it is the most popular architectural style for developing APIs. REST (Representational State Transfer) is perfect for designing a Network-based software system. So, REST API is nothing but an Application Programming Interface that is based on the REST architectural style. Therefore, when we talk about REST API vs web service, REST API appears superior because of its flexibility. 

The following are the principles and benefits of REST APIs: 

Principles of REST Architecture

REST APIs can be developed with the utilization of programming language and are capable of supporting various formats. Following are the principles that REST follows: 

  • Client-server architecture
  • Statelessness
  • Uniform interface
  • Cacheability
  • Layered system architecture
  • Code on demand

Benefits of REST API

Compared to other API protocols or architectures, REST is simpler to use. It also has a wide range of other advantages that make it the top choice for many developers creating APIs:

Scalability: REST APIs are very scalable and have no trouble handling massive volumes of data and requests. Because of this, they are perfect for applications that need great scalability.

Flexibility: REST APIs may be used with a wide variety of programming languages and frameworks, which makes it pretty flexible. As a result, integrating them into already-in-use programs and systems is simple.

Security: A number of authentication and encryption techniques may be used to safeguard REST APIs, making them extremely secure. This ensures that the information is safe and that only people with permission are able to access it.

Simplicity: REST APIs have a consistent and clear structure, making them user-friendly and understandable. Users are able to communicate with them easily, and developers also have a smooth experience while working with them. 

Examples of REST APIs

  • Facebook API: REST API is provided by Facebook for developers to utilize in order to develop programs that interact with this social media format. 
  • Twitter API: By utilizing the Twitter API, developers can access data from Twitter, which includes tweets, trends, and user accounts. 
  • Google Maps API: Google Maps can be included by programmers in their work using the Google Maps API. 

Read more about REST APIs

Introduction to Web API

web api vs rest api: An illustration of Web API

A set of protocols and tools known as a Web API (Application Programming Interface) are used to create software applications that may connect with one another via the Internet. It enables easy data interchange and interaction across various software systems. With the use of Web APIs, functionality and data may be exposed in a standardized manner, giving developers access to and control over resources on distant servers. These APIs make it simple and quick for developers to create new and cutting-edge apps by integrating different platforms, applications, and services. 

Benefits of Web API

Organizations that offer services via distributed systems profit from Web API. Here are some advantages of web API:

Business: Web APIs’ Open Source nature makes it easier to maintain consistent corporate data by decentralizing logic. Low bandwidth data (JSON/XML) may be integrated with any language since they are simple to interpret, lightweight, and the best format for data exchange. Web API is also a fundamental component of the ASP.NET framework, which makes it very easy to understand and maintain.

Technological: One of their main technological advantages is that web APIs do not require complicated configuration. Being a lightweight architecture, it is perfect for smartphones and other devices with little bandwidth. They allow model binding, routing, open data, and validations akin to MVC.

Examples of Web API

  • Google APIs – You may be sure that Google will set the standard in any field of contemporary technology. They provide a variety of APIs, such as the Google Analytics API, YouTube API, Blogger API, and Google Font API.
  • Additionally, there are social media APIs such as Scoop.it, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin APIs.

Web API vs REST API: 5 Major Differences

While by no means Web API and Rest API can be compared directly, the following are five parameters that can help an individual to choose a better API as per their needs.

Protocol

Web APIs support HTTP/s protocol and URL responses and request headers, which enables services to communicate with various clients through the web. Meanwhile, only HTTP protocol is capable of supporting all REST API communication. 

Formats

Although all APIs perform almost similar tasks, flexibility is provided by Web API and can establish any style of communication. On the other hand, REST API can utilize SOAP, REST, and XML-RPC for communication. 

Design

Web APIs are light architectures that are particularly designed for gadgets restricted to devices like smartphones. REST APIs do just the opposite by sending and receiving data over systems, establishing them as a complex architecture. 

Client and Server-Side Coordination

Web API makes the changes between server and client pretty finely coordinated. Whereas REST APIs lack a firmly coupled architecture, which allows independent development on the server and client sides. 

Support

You can host Web API on an IIS (Internet Information Service) or self, which supports JSON or XML requests. In contrast, a developer can only host REST API on IIS, which supports standardized XML requests.

Why Choose APILayer for REST or Web API Integration?

APILayer API Marketplace

By now, you must be sure about which API is the most appropriate one for you and might be looking for an API integration service. Well, look no further than APILayer. The quality and range provided by APILayer make it stand out from other APIs available in the market. 

For individuals who have been recently introduced to APIs, detailed documentation for every service is provided to help them get started. Often top-notch API with so much to provide comes at a hefty price but not APILayer. Along with providing extraordinary services, APILayer also ensures to keep its prices reasonable and affordable. Additionally, you are provided with a free trial of every service without demanding your credit card details. 

Also, if you are an API developer and looking for a platform to list your API, APILayer welcomes you with open arms. 

Web API vs REST API: Wrapping It Up!

Both REST and Web APIs are utilized to develop applications that provide resources and are capable of communicating over HTTP. While architectural constraints are described by REST, Web APIs are a concept that is RESTful. 

Both Web and REST APIs are nimble formats that may be used in a variety of contexts. Web APIs, in contrast, to REST APIs, offer a more personalized user experience, support for additional message kinds, and facilitate complicated binary data-related exchanges between servers and clients.

So, what’s the delay, explore APILayer today to ensure a smooth experience when you get started with APIs. Try our most-sought & revolutionary public APIs now for FREE!

FAQs

What Are the Types of API?

There are three types of APIs that are commonly utilized in web services: Web, REST, and SOAP. 

What Is Web API?

A Web API is an application programming interface for the Web. 

What Is REST API?

Is an application programming interface that conforms to the restrictions of REST architecture.

Is REST API Only for HTTP?

REST might be the most widely used for HTTP, but it can be used for FTP and other types of communication protocols too. 

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