Understanding the Difference Between APIs and Microservices

Posted / 17 January, 2022

Author / Enginess

Understanding the Difference Between APIs and Microservices

Software development has changed in recent years. When most people think about software, they think about the apps on their phone or computer that they use on a daily basis. And while these are important, there are also two other types of software that are often overlooked: APIs and microservices.

APIs are the language of the Internet. With APIs, you can provide others with access to your data, your business logic, or any other functionality on your website. They're an integral part of any online business because they allow companies to work together by sharing information between each other.

Microservices are a way to build robust applications without having to rewrite code every time you want to do something new. Each microservice is designed for a specific function, which allows developers to build applications faster without sacrificing flexibility or scalability.

What is an API?

The acronym API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a set of instructions for how one application should talk to another application. In other words, an API tells application A how to communicate with application B.

In the past, APIs were primarily used by big companies that had complex software that needed to connect with other complex software from another company. Today, APIs are a crucial part of many businesses and individuals' lives as they allow people on different sides of the world to quickly find what they need on the internet without having to search through multiple websites or databases on their own.

APIs are also being used more commonly in the corporate world. APIs are allowing different departments within companies to share valuable information with each other quickly and easily, because API security measures can be put in place to make sure only authorized personnel have access to the information.

APIs are becoming increasingly popular in mash-ups. A mash-up is when two applications are mixed together, for example when taking data from one website and putting it into another or when combining different aspects of both sites to create something new. If an API exists, then creating a mash-up becomes much easier.

Many people now view the Internet as just one big API. There are APIs for social media, browsers, operating systems, etc. The possibilities seem endless!
As you can see, APIs are increasingly becoming more and more relevant in today's technological world. With so many kinds of software avialable to consumers these days, APIs are necessary for integrating one software with another..

What are Microservices?

Microservices are a way to build robust applications without having to rewrite code every time you want to do something new. Each microservice is designed for a specific function, which allows developers to build applications faster without sacrificing flexibility or scalability.

Microservices offer many benefits for agile and devops teams - as Martin Fowler points out, Netflix was once a monolithic application that has since evolved into microservice architecture. Unlike with the single autonomous unit of code in one large system where changes require building an entire new version all at once if you want it changed or updated; scaling specific functions within your app means only those parts need to be improved upon rather than every part being fixed because they're all connected via shared functionality between them . This speeds up development time as well: making adjustments locally won't affect other modules outside its scope, and since separate teams can work on different modules simultaneously it also speeds up the time from idea to running code.

In addition, it's easier to scale horizontally because microservices do not have shared state between them. While a monolithic application requires developers to account for all The things which means adding redundancy everywhere in the application where two components might communicate, which could result in unnecessary redundancy. Microservices are simple - they have a single responsibility so if you want to scale one component up or down simply adjust the load balancers accordingly and everything will be fine because it's not intertwined with anything else.

An example might help illustrate this better: say you're building an e-commerce app.

You have a monolithic application. Within the app there is a static module that displays your catalog of items for sale, another static module that's used for login & account management, and a third static module with payment processing functionality. There are other modules as well which handle administrative tasks like users uploading images to use on the site, orders going through the workflow from when they're placed until they're shipped, etc.

Now a change in requirements means certain customers will need to be able to login and manage their accounts via SMS text message in addition to email - so you add this functionality. Now because these modules are all part of one larger application rather than separate ones for details like sending login credentials, you can't just send SMS messages. You need to build this functionality into the existing monolithic application where both modules sending emails and sending SMS text messages are handled, even if they're unconnected in functionality or location .

And now another change is made - this time certain customers will be able to purchase items using PayPal instead of credit cards. So you add PayPal integration to the modules within the monolithic application. Now because adding one payment integration changed all of these modules, any other module that also needs changing will need to be rebuilt as well.

And so on and so forth - adding functionality requires rebuilding every part of this monolithic app even if it's not necessary or relevant for that functionality, and there's no way to separate it into modules without adding more shared components that need redundancy rather than removing them.

The Differences between an API and a Microservice

The main difference between APIs and microservices is that APIs are designed to provide others with access to your data or business logic, while microservices are meant to be part of a larger application.


Some people might think that these two things are the same thing because both APIs and micro services provide company's information. However, the main difference is that with APIs, you're providing others with access to your data or business logic, while with microservices, you're creating parts of an app.

Wrap Up

API’s are great for backend development, but you need to know the difference between API’s and microservices. API’s are simply application programming interfaces which is a way for developers to communicate with one another. API’s work best for backend development, while microservices are a way to break down monolithic applications into bite-sized pieces that can be updated independently.

If you are considering API’s or microservices for your next project, it is important to know the difference. API’s are great for backend development, but you need to know the difference between API’s and microservices. API’s are simply application programming interfaces which is a way for developers to communicate with one another. API’s work best for backend development, while microservices are a way to break down monolithic applications into bite-sized pieces that can be updated independently.

If you are considering API’s or microservices for your next project, it is important to know the difference

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