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Web Services vs API

Web Services:

A Web service is a collection of open protocols and standards which are widely used for exchanging data between systems or applications. Software applications are written using various programming languages and running on multiple platforms. It allows you to use web services to exchange data over computer networks.


  • Offers faster communications within and across organizations

  • Each service exists independently of other services.

  • Interoperability has the highest priority.

  • Using Web services, your application helps you to publish its message or function to the rest of the world.

  • Web services help solve interoperability issues by giving different applications a way to link their data.

  • Web services help you to exchange data between different applications and different platforms.

  • It allows applications to communicate, exchange data, and shared services among themselves.

  • Web services are specifically designed to be used as a web page request and help you to receive data.

  • It serves as building blocks which makes it easy to reuse web service components in other services. Web Services are deployed on internet standards such as standard Apache, and Axis2. It provides WSDL, HTTP, driven services.


  • It does not access from browser

  • Not leverage emerging Web developments (Semantic Web, AJAX XMLHttpRequest, etc.)

  • Some web services are simple to use, but there are some flaws of using it.

  • Any time one creates a service to handle a variety of customers, there is a demand for specialized machine requirements.

  • The HTTP protocol is not reliable, so it does not offer any guarantee of delivery of the response.


API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface. It is a software interface that allows two applications to interact with each other without any user intervention. APIs provides product or service to communicate with other products and services without having to know how they’re implemented.


  • API supports traditional CRUD (Create Read Update Delete) actions as it works with HTTP verbs GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE.

  • API helps you to expose service data to the browser

  • It is based on HTTP, which is easy to define, expose in REST-full way.


  • Creating API is a very time-consuming process

  • A fixed scale is necessary

  • Imprecise boundary delineation

  • To create API, programming knowledge is necessary

  • Maintenance cost is very high

  • It can crash when testing API

Difference Between Web Services and API

Web Services API

All web services are APIs.

All APIs are not web services.

It supports XML.

Responses are formatted using Web API’s MediaTypeFormatter into XML, JSON, or any other given format.

You need a SOAP protocol to send or receive and data over the network. Therefore it does not have light-weight architecture.

API has a light-weight architecture.

It can be used by any client who understands XML.

It can be used by a client who understands JSON or XML.

Web service uses three styles: REST, SOAP, and XML-RPC for communication.

API can be used for any style of communication.

It provides supports only for the HTTP protocol.

It provides support for the HTTP/s protocol: URL Request/Response Headers, etc.

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