The Difference Between API and Web Services

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API and Web Services

Modern businesses must find the best solution for delivering their products and services to customers. Nowadays, brands primarily interact with customers in online spaces, and businesses frequently explore various types of software architecture. If the difference between API and web services confuses you and you want to find the best software solution for your business – you are in the right place. At Kovair Software, we have provided software development tools for digital transformation that enable enterprise agility and growth. We would love to help you find the best solutions for your needs.

What is an API?

Application Programming Interface (API) enables direct communication between two apps without requiring direct user interaction. APIs are excellent for businesses that rely on multiple third-party software integrations. There is no need to know how individual services are implemented, and API can act like an interface for requesting data.

The Pros of API

  • Customizable. API is language-independent and allows for personalization.
  • Improves connectivity. Since it is based on HTTP, you can define in REST API (Representational State Transfer) and expose service data with a lightweight approach.
  • Supports CRUD. You can support traditional Create Read Update Delete actions and work with HTTP verbs such as GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE.

The Cons of API

  • Time-consuming. Creating an API is a drawn-out process requiring a highly skilled programmer.
  • Maintenance and upkeep. Unfortunately, API can crash, and the maintenance costs can be high.
  • Imprecise boundary delineation.

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What are Web Services

Web services are a widespread online resource comprised of open protocols and standards. Web services provide functionality for other apps: data exchange and storage. However, since you also use APIs for software communication, this is where most people have trouble understanding the difference between API and web services. Although web services follow REST principles, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is more common. You can rely on multiple web services to combine different functions and enable software applications built differently to work together. SOAP protocols ensure that the data exchange between various programs is secure, regardless of platform or programing language. These features make web services indispensable for businesses that require cloud automation for large-scale projects.

The Pros of Web Services

  • Ease of use. Web services can coexist independently, and you can couple them to add app functionality.
  • Enable data exchange. An excellent way to connect and exchange data.
  • Remote support. Web services can facilitate and speed up communication, which is essential when combining internal and external data sharing and remote procedure calls.

The Cons of Web Services

  • Not browser accessible. You will need to develop an app to extend features to end users.
  • Uses HTTP. Unfortunately, the HTTP protocol can be unreliable, and there is no guarantee of delivery.
  • Can’t use new web developments. Emerging developments like Semantic Web and AJAX XML might require custom code to handle requests.

The difference between API and Web Services

Although there are many differences, these aren’t entirely different concepts. First, every web service is a type of API requiring a network connection to access. On the other hand, not all APIs are web services since they can be on or offline and use any protocol. Additionally, many APIs are open and allow quick onboarding, while web services can be tied to specific partners.

How to handle Integration and Onboarding

Regardless of how proud you are of your software tools, you will still need a way for new API consumers to learn how your API works. If you want to offer online client services, you should find a way to market and sell your app and spread the word about your software’s functionality and the problems it solves. Consider offering users a trial period, or freemium accounts, since that can be an excellent opportunity to showcase your functionality. Also, remember to include detailed API documentation and support for your customers.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, you better understand the difference between API and web services. Both can allow you to exchange data between separate applications, where API can expose that data to outside software – web services come with a few requirements (namely network connection and SOAP). Even if you are outsourcing your software development, knowing the particulars of the different web technologies can allow you to get a better end product.

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Zachary Felker started his career as a software developer; however, due to his natural talent for communication – he quickly transitioned to a managerial role. Zachary frequently consults with various companies to improve communication between developers and customers. Zachary loves camping and hiking when he isn’t opening too many tabs for his following online research.

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