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What Is The Difference Between APIs and Microservices?

11/03/2022

What Is The Difference Between APIs and Microservices?

 

With the rapid advent of web technology, there has also been a steady development in the way tech companies operate. In these terms, the role of an API and microservices are quite intertwined. Many businesses use either of the two concepts or a mix of both, to reach customers with new-age software and state-of-the-art experiences. 

 

You’ve probably heard the terms API and microservice being used by developers and tech enthusiasts, especially while working on a program or a tech service. But, what do this tech jargon- APIs and microservice, mean? Read along to know more. 

 

What is an API?

 

API is the abbreviation for an Application Programming Interface. This is the framework of an app that connects with other apps to acquire and exchange data and services. In tech terms, an API can be defined as a set of protocols and methods that assist two or more apps to share and modify the data contained in the apps with basic code.

 

These APIs are integral to many major apps that enable the supervision of a codified standard in the way two or more apps communicate with each other. Although these apps may have different purposes, the same API can be used to accrue data as per the needs of the app. 

 

For example, a mobile app to book a table at restaurants may use a bank API to ensure secure, affordable, and accessible digital payment options. That same digital payment API used to allow customers to pay using their mobile phones can be accessed and used by another third-party app to ensure seamless payment of mobile phone bills. 

 

Another example of using APIs is using Google’s Translation API to translate any text content on digital devices. An array of apps today use this API to create a regional customer experience for their software in development.

 

An API helps developers understand the core components of an app in the backend and utilize a few of these components to deliver tailor-made results without actually using the app’s algorithm to its core.

 

In this regard, there are two types of APIs. First is open APIs that facilitate interaction between a third-party app and publicly accessible web servers and web services and second are external APIs that only allow app to app or intra-app communication. 

 

What is a Microservice?

 

In older times, when the use of tech was limited, software developers used to create monolithic apps. This meant that the apps were created as one service instead of encapsulating a myriad of microservices. This form of app architecture leads to redundancies, bugs, runtime errors, etc. and also take up more space and are often slower. 

 

Packing up all services the app provides into one method makes it tough to reengineer the program later on. Updates are prone to bugs and hassle, tracking changes becomes a pain and generally, the code complexity increases as well.

 

A microservice is a new way to provide scores of software services through one unified app. Many developers use this system of software architecture to define the various functions of the app as services. This form of app architecture is known as a microservice.

 

When an app is made using the microservice architecture, the app usually provides a variety of services that meet the needs of the customer in more than one way. For instance, a digital payment mobile app may have services such as payment transfer, direct to merchant payments, account management, generating account statements, user verification regimes, support structures, profile customization services, to name a few. 

 

Similarly, an app that enables the user to send instant messages over the web may use frameworks that provide services such as account creation, account management, messaging service, attachment, media playing services, camera services, et al. In both these cases the services are individual functions that come together to give you the best in class app usage.

 

This form of app architecture is usually faster and free from redundancies. Moreover, the inability of one service doesn’t affect the holistic app experience for the user. Each service is self-contained and independently accessible. Developers can modify and add a newer feature to any of these services without affecting the other services. There’s also a high customization and up-gradation possibility with such microservice systems. These apps are robust and reliable as well. 

 

Comparing APIs and Microservices

 

From the lessons learned above, we can define APIs as a part of an app that is built to communicate with other apps. It allows the third-party app to use a few of the integral components of that app without changing much of the structure and methods. On the other hand, a Microservice is an approach to developing software that provides a cluster of self-contained programs as services instead of outlining one monolithic purpose for the entire app.

 

While APIs and microservices have innate points of departure, they are often paired together to ensure an efficient and safe user experience. Microservices often use disparate APIs to provide discrete functionality to the user through the app. 

 

Microservices may use a collection of private API to access the diverse modules present within an app. Moreover, each service within an app following the microservice architecture can have individual APIs to perform specific tasks. Microservices can be used without APIs as well. Besides, APIs can also be used with other forms of software architectures. 

 

Summary

 

To summarize the roles of microservices and the APIs, we can state that while APIs are the means for two or more apps to communicate with each other, microservices are a horizontally structured software architecture. APIs ensure reliable access and the capacity to modify the data from apps, microservices allow developers to update specific portions of the app without changing the overall architecture. 

 

Above all, although the concepts of API and microservices are fundamentally different, both these tech concepts can be used together as well as independently. Most of the new age software often use a combination of APIs and microservices to give you a simple, safe and accessible app experience. 

 

When you partner with a tech consulting company such as Focaloid Technologies, the business gains from such in-depth expertise by enabling software developers to transform your business to meet the needs of the hour.  

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