Did you know that the average enterprise utilizes over 1,500 APIs to drive its digital operations? APIs play a pivotal...
Demystifying Web API vs Rest API: A Comparison
Do you ever wonder what makes our digital world work the way it does? What allows us to browse websites, access online services, and send information around the world in the blink of an eye?
Well, there’s a secret ingredient at play here: APIs (Web API & Rest API).
API stands for Application Programming Interface and is essentially a set of instructions that allow one computer program to talk to another. More simply put, APIs let different applications understand each other, no matter which software or language was used to build them. Put together, these apps form the backbone of our digital world!
There are two main types of APIs: REST (Representational State Transfer) and Web. Both are powerful tools allowing applications to “talk” to each other– and yet they have some marked differences. In this article, we’ll explore those differences so that you can make an informed decision on which API is best for your project. Let’s get started with Web API vs Rest API!
What Are APIs?
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become core components of almost any modern application. They are used to connect different applications, share data between them and provide a rapid way of developing better web services. In essence, APIs provide a “bridge” between different applications so your end-users can access multiple features without experiencing any technical difficulties.
In practical terms, APIs help achieve seamless integrations between two or more applications. Instead of having to build the entire data exchange system from scratch, developers use APIs—which are basically prebuilt codes—to facilitate this process quickly and efficiently. As such, they save developers invaluable time and simplify complex systems.
What Are REST APIs?
Now that you’re familiar with what APIs are and how they work, it’s time to focus on two of the most common types: REST API vs Web API. Let’s start off with RESTful APIs. In a nutshell, these are a type of API that’s based on representational state transfer (REST). This architectural style allows developers to access web services in an easy and consistent way—so instead of having to make several database calls, they can get everything they need through one simple request.
REST is known for its performance and scalability, as well as its connection-oriented architecture. It also has features like caching, which make it ideal for creating applications that require frequent loading or data that isn’t particularly time-sensitive.
Developers often prefer using RESTful APIs over Web APIs for handling large amounts of data or ensuring interoperability. RESTful APIs are easier to integrate with components from different vendors and platforms. RESTful APIs are not limited to web applications, they can also be used for developing mobile apps.
What Are Web APIs?
Web APIs are a type of application programming interface (API) that allow developers to access web-based services through well-defined protocols, such as HTTP/HTTPS. This makes it easy for developers to integrate their applications with web-based tools, such as social networking sites, media streaming services, and other online platforms.
You can think of Web APIs as a kind of “middleman” between two applications—they enable the two applications to talk to each other. This makes it possible for developers to create powerful applications that make use of data from various sources. For example, you could build an app that uses data from a weather service and an online store.
Web APIs have a key feature of being stateless, meaning they don’t store data or user information. This statelessness allows for their repeated use without requiring additional setup or configuration. This makes them very efficient and convenient for developers who need to access data quickly and easily from multiple sources.
Key Distinctions: Web API vs Rest API
REST APIs support JSON, XML, and other formats, while Web APIs only support XML. Developers should choose the appropriate API based on their data format requirements.
REST APIs use HTTP/HTTPS, while Web APIs use protocols like SOAP and BEEP in addition to HTTP/HTTPS. Protocol choice can impact speed and security, so it’s important to consider this when selecting an API.
REST is an architectural style that leverages established communication protocols like HTTP to create easily translatable and understandable APIs. In contrast, Web APIs offer specific functions for use on a page or website.
REST involves client-server interactions using HTTP verbs such as GET, PUT, and POST. Web APIs allow web pages to load components from remote machines for more passive interaction with less human participation.
How to Choose the Right API for Your Use-Case (Web API vs Rest API)
When selecting an API, it’s important to consider the differences between Web API vs Rest API.
One key factor to consider is security. Web APIs often require a higher level of security because they are used by a wider variety of clients with different purposes. REST APIs, on the other hand, are typically designed for internal users and applications and therefore require fewer security protocols.
Another important consideration is performance. REST APIs usually offer better performance than Web APIs because they have lighter request sizes and support HTTP caching.
Quality of Service (QoS)
Your QoS requirements should also influence your choice of API. If you need real-time data streaming or push notifications, a Web API with a direct connection feature may be the better option. However, if you require reliable server-side processing, a REST API might be more suitable.
APIs are an asset for modern businesses, providing an efficient and secure means of accessing and exchanging data. It is important to differentiate between REST APIs and Web APIs to determine their appropriate use.
REST APIs use the HTTP protocol to send and receive data. Web APIs, on the other hand, rely on multiple communication protocols like SOAP, XML-RPC, and JSON-RPC. REST APIs are the most widely used for data integration, facilitating efficient data transfer. Meanwhile, Web APIs are utilized to access data on remote servers more efficiently.
Overall, understanding the distinctions between REST APIs and Web APIs is crucial for selecting the appropriate API for a given application.
REST APIs in Astera API Management
Astera Software’s API Management tool helps organizations design, publish, and manage REST APIs. The tool allows businesses to control and monitor the entire lifecycle of their APIs, from design to retirement.
With Astera API Management, users can easily create and publish REST APIs, configure access controls, and monitor API usage and performance in real time. Moreover, the platform enables developers to consume and integrate with APIs, streamline workflows, and build applications faster.
It also provides a user-friendly interface that simplifies API management, making it easier for businesses to integrate APIs into their systems. The tool supports various authentication methods, such as OAuth 2.0, API key, and basic authentication, to ensure secure access to APIs.