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Microservices vs APIs: Everything You Need to Know

Microservices vs APIs: In technology, trends say web applications, microservices, and APIs both are vita. Keeping in mind their versatility, it may seem that these two terms are interchangeable, but this is not true. Many individuals get perplexed with these two terms and cannot differentiate. The below article clearly highlights the meaning of these Microservices vs APIs prominent differences:

Microservices:

The microservices are small, single services derived from the distributed computing architecture. In this architecture, there are multiple small services connected rather than a single big service. The segmented microservices can be subsequently delivered via an application programming interface (API).

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The functioning of microservices:

The idea behind the working is such that a company offers a large, single service. Each microservice in the architecture works as individual functions. With microservices, the applications are segmented into their tiniest components that work independently. The microservices training involves the working mechanism as the vital section. When you undergo this training, you can learn all indispensable aspects of this approach. 

In the traditional monolithic approach, each application present on a single server composed of 3 layers –presentation, application, and database. This approach is an efficient one to organize an application but there was a creation of several single points of failure. Consequently, there were long outages that existed if there was a code bug or hardware failure. Moreover, in this approach, everything is built into one piece whereas in microservices, all pieces are separated and they work collectively to accomplish the tasks. 

On the other hand, a microservice aims to address a single concern like a logging function or data search, or web service function. Unlike the monolithic approach, this one comes with higher flexibility. For instance, the process of updating the code of a function is possible without restructuring or redeploying the remaining portion of the microservices architecture.

Right from the inception, microservices are interconnected with cloud-native architectures. Hence, they are identical in several ways. Since containers and microservices are indefinite, they can be operated on any compatible operating system. Once you carefully go through the microservices tutorial, you can learn how the services are distinct yet interconnected. 

APIs:

An API (application programming interface) is an approach to establishing communication between a host and a requester, usually accessible via an IP address. There are multiple kinds of information an API can communicate to users. It can be data you intend to share or a function you wish to provide. Microservice is more related to the software’s architecture whereas the API deals with the way to represent the microservice to a consumer.

Owing to their versatility, you can create them on any containerized service.  They use various languages like Python, Java, etc. You can deploy APIs on any leading cloud provider.

The functioning of APIs:

In simple terms, APIs function by sharing data between systems, applications, and devices. The majority of the APIs function between the device/server and the application. Initially, the user commences an API call that informs the application what to do. Subsequently, the application would use an API to inform the device/webserver to accomplish some task. Here, the API functions as the middle man between the web server and the application. Moreover, the API call is the request. Whenever you use software for communicating with other software or some online web servers, actually, you are using APIs for requesting the information you require.

APIs can boost the exposure of your service and its usability. Since the distribution is made simpler, you can provide smaller services. No need to build an entire Adobe Suite to ensure viability.

Types of APIs:

  • Internal APIs
  • External APIs
  • Partner APIs

Various API architectural styles:

  • REST API
  • SOAP API
  • Webhooks
  • GraphQL API
  • WebSocket API
  • gRPC API
  • Server-sent event API
  • AMQP API
  • MQTT APIs
  • EDI

Do Microservices depend on APIs?

Yes, the working of microservices is dependent on APIs. The API is basically a communication tool that allows one service to interact with another. If not connected to something, it cannot do anything. Actually, the API proves to be useful once it is connected to services and microservices like software as a service, machine learning as a service, and function as a service.

The API is the approach letting you dispense the microservice to users. As an alternative to downloading software, the API effectively distributes your service. To let the microservice architecture work, API is vital. This is since API works as the communication tool between the services. In absence of an API, there will be plenty of disconnected microservices resulting in a conventional monolithic architecture.

Microservices vs APIs: Everything You Need to Know

Let’s look at the following points of differences:

  • A microservice conveys an approach to creating an application that ultimately breaks down the functions of an application in modular programs. Moreover, microservices make it simpler to deploy and maintain software. On the other hand, API is a segment of a web application that facilitates communication with some other applications. The API of software describes a set of acceptable requests that need to be made to the API as well as responses obtained to these requests.
  • Microservices adopt an architectural style for web applications wherein the functionality is categorized into tiny small web services. But APIs are the frameworks and the developers use them to interrelate with a web application.
  • APIs take more time to build than microservices.
  • Microservices are components whereas APIs are interfaces.
  • Microservices rely on APIs whereas APIs can be used internally but without the implementation of microservice architecture.
  • APIs are fast and lightweight whereas microservices are scalable, decentralized, and modular.
  • APIs are extensively used to add explicit functions to an application. On the other hand, microservices are used as an alternative to a monolithic architecture to develop applications.

Last Word: Microservices vs APIs

Microservices vs APIs comparison between the two may seem misleading since APIs are vital components of microservice architecture. These two terms are identical in many respects; however, they have diverse characteristics. Comprehending the differences and how they interrelate can let you have a clear picture of them. 

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