This article brings a comprehensive, in-depth comparison between Microservices and API. For those who were not familiar with the differences between these two, the article is meant to clear out the confusion. Apart from the difference, also find out the examples of both. So, let’s get started.
The digital world is constantly changing. And, to be successful and keep up with the changing environment, it is always a good practice to research what is coming next. Likewise, there are two major services in the market microservices, and API.
Microservices and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have diverse roles in the software development process. Considering that there is an overlap between these two, it could be a bit confusing to understand the difference. In this post, let’s highlight the microservices vs API comparison and find out similarities as well as differences.
|Microservices vs API - Table Of Content|
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Breaking it down into two words, micro means small and service is referred to as a form of action. Hence, microservices are a microform of action that can be achieved after accomplishing a work.
A microservice, also known as a microservice architectural pattern, is a modern application developing technique that helps organize loosely coupled services. It is similar to an assembly line where each service has a specific role. Together, all of these services build a comprehensive application
Such services can be deployed independently and have to serve a certain objective.
An Application Programming Interface, API, lets your applications communicate with external services with the help of an easy set of commands. Instead of creating complex processes manually, you can use an API to access the underlying services of other applications; thus, saving resources and time.
A variety of applications that you must be using every single day depend upon APIs in certain capability to function, considering that there are APIs for almost every possible category.
Trying to comprehend the difference between microservices and API could be difficult as APIs are a vital part of the entire microservice architecture. Every microservice in the architecture will have its own API. Majorly, the API is present in front of the microservice and ensures the flow of communication between varying components of the architecture.
Microservice architecture is most likely to comprise several APIs. However, keep in mind that APIs can be used for other objectives as well, without being a part of the microservice. This is most likely where the confusion arises.
Moreover, confusion may also arise from the fact that APIs and microservices may accomplish the same objective.
|Objective||Builds applications that help organize loosely coupled services||Allows the flow of communication among components|
|Characteristics||Modular, scalable, and decentralized||Specialized, fast, and lightweight|
|Use Cases||Used to create applications||Used to include certain functions to an application|
Microservices come from the idea that a company offers a single, large service. Microservices generally come as individual functions. Suppose if you had to split Microsoft Word into microservices, there would be one offering a blank sheet of paper, one providing a formatting tool, one offering a spell checker, etc.
With Kubernetes, computer software has become adaptable. Although Kubernetes comes with its own set of benefits, it has pushed software designing away from one monolith of services, towards a combination of varying, small services that work together.
This is because Kubernetes design can:
Let’s understand more about microservices through an example. For instance, an online shopping site may have a service for shipping, another service for payments, and another service for customer care. If you take it from an application perspective:
Each of these services gets handled by a specific block at the level of the application. Such blocks are known as microservices.
In the present world, usually, APIs are developed with the help of RESTful style. Such APIs have a series of verbs that are associated with the actions of HTTP, such as:
The benefit of consistency through varying applications is that you get a standard when performing several actions. The four diverse HTTP verbs, mentioned above, correlate with common capabilities of CRUD that a lot of applications are using today. When you work with varying APIs in one single application, you get to comprehend the results of actions taken from different interfaces.
Here is an example to find out how APIs usually work.
So, all of these and more tasks are done by an API.
We hope the difference between microservices and API would be clear to you by now. Choosing an option between microservices vs API largely depends upon the scale of the application. If you wish to develop a large-level application with play and plug functionalities, it would be recommended to go with microservice architecture and vice versa.
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Vinod M is a Big data expert writer at Mindmajix and contributes in-depth articles on various Big Data Technologies. He also has experience in writing for Docker, Hadoop, Microservices, Commvault, and few BI tools. You can be in touch with him via LinkedIn and Twitter.
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