Microservices and APIs are becoming famous everywhere in the software development space with the increasing need to produce scalable, secure, and flexible applications at faster turnaround times.

Customer demands are changing rapidly, and they expect software solutions that can ease their task and provide them with convenience.

Traditional approaches with monolithic architecture restrict developers from doing much innovation. Due to their stiff composition, making changes in an application can be difficult.

But if you want your application to strive, you must add new, improved features and functionality to meet customers’ needs.

This is where microservices architecture and APIs can help.

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But many people confuse between them, and when it comes to developing a software application, they don’t know what will be suitable for them.

This article will compare microservices vs API with an aim to put an end to all your confusion so you can decide the best way to build and deploy your application.

Let’s start the comparison.

What Are Microservices?

Microservices are smaller, loosely coupled services that you can deploy independently. Here, “services” refer to different functions of an application.

So, in a microservices architecture, an application’s functions are divided into many smaller components serving specific purposes. These components or services are fine-grained and usually have separate technology stacks, data management methods, and databases. They can communicate with other services of the application via REST APIs, message brokers, and streaming.

The microservices architecture is an effective approach to building applications. Since the services are loosely coupled and distributed, even if something happens in one of the services, it won’t affect the rest of the system, unlike traditional approaches.

Loose coupling helps reduce the complexities and dependencies of an application. Thus, development teams can accelerate the process of developing new app components and meet increasing business needs.

Here, the terms “microservices” and “microservice” are distinct from one another. A microservice represents an application’s core functionality and runs independently. On the other hand, the term “microservices” signifies the complete architecture for building an application. It goes beyond core functions and loose coupling — it also restructures your development processes and communications to enable the integration of new features, provide scalability, and prepare you for failures and issues.

Components of Microservices

The main components of microservices are API, business logic, data access layer, and database. Let’s look at the expanded version of different components:

  • Clients: These can be applications, websites, or other services. Microservices architecture includes various types of clients to handle some tasks such as performing a search, configuring, building, etc.
  • API Gateway: This is the point of entry for the clients so they can forward requests to suitable services. The reason for using an API gateway is that the clients do not directly call the services. Using API gateways will offer many benefits like keeping the services updated, providing load balancing, security, and more.
  • Identity providers: Client requests are forwarded to the identity providers to authenticate those requests and communicate them to internal services via an API gateway.
  • Data handling: Microservices have private databases to store their information and implement business functionality.
  • Messaging: Microservices interact with each other via messages to manage client requests. These messages can be of two types: synchronous, where the server waits to get a real-time response, or asynchronous, where the client doesn’t wait for any responses before acting.
  • Static content: Microservices, after communicating with each other, deploy other static content to a cloud storage service to enable direct delivery of the content to the clients using a content delivery network (CDN).
  • Service delivery: This is a microservice guide to finding communication routes between the microservices. It manages a service list where nodes are found.

Examples of Microservices

The top organizations like Amazon, Netflix, PayPal, Twitter, etc., have evolved from traditional monolithic architecture to microservices. This architecture has helped them achieve greater success by offering seamless scaling, business agility, and high profits.

Let’s take the example of Amazon. This retail site had a monolithic application in the 2000s. So, if its developers needed to scale or upgrade Amazon’s systems, it was tough and required them to manage dependencies very carefully each time for the monolithic application with multiple components and tiers tied very tightly together.

Thus, it restricted flexibility and increased complexity as the application grew with its larger codebase. This created an overhead for development teams and decelerated their development process. Hence, they found trouble meeting the scaling demands and customer expectations.

So, they adopted the microservices architecture. First, they analyzed all their source code carefully and then extracted code units serving a single functionality. Next, they wrapped those code units in a web-based service interface. For instance, they built a separate payment service, another single component for the “buy” option.

Furthermore, Amazon also assigned a service’s ownership to developers to view issues closely and resolve them.

Types of Microservices

Microservices can be categorized into two broad types – stateless and stateful microservices.

  • Stateless microservices: These are the building blocks of distributed systems. They don’t maintain or store any session state between two requests, hence the name “stateless” microservices. In addition, even if a service instance is removed, the service’s overall processing logic is not affected. This is why distributed systems leverage stateless microservices.
  • Stateful microservices: Stateful microservices maintain or store session states or data in the code. Microservices communicating with each other always maintain service requests.

Stateless microservices are used more widely, but you can use stateful for multiple scenarios.

For example, suppose a customer places an order. Here “order” represents a microservice. So, the order service starts checking the product status using another service – inventory. When each request is independent of future or previous requests, this means the system follows a stateless architecture.

When you try to fetch the product information through a call, you will get the same result irrespective of the previous requests or context. And even if an order fails, it will not jeopardize the overall business processing. Another microservice will be ready to keep the process running.

Are Microservices RESTful?

Well, not necessarily. Let’s briefly review the differences:

  • Microservices: This is a collection of functions and services acting as building blocks of an application.
  • RESTful APIs: These represent the protocols, commands, and rules for integrating all the microservices into one single application.

Microservices is about an application’s design style and architecture, and you can build microservices with or without using a RESTful API. That said, using RESTful will make it a lot easier to develop loosely coupled microservices.

RESTful API came into being before microservices. It assumes that all objects have uniform interfaces and are completely language agnostic and loosely coupled. Here, the semantics and interfaces remain the same, and API implementation can change easily anytime without affecting consumers. Therefore, RESTful and microservices may solve different problems; they can still work together.

What Is an API?

Application Programming Interface (API) is a software intermediary between two applications interacting with each other. It connects two computers or computer programs through an interface.

Don’t confuse this interface with the user interface, which connects a person to a computer or computer program. API connects software pieces and computers with each other and is not for use directly by the end-user, except the programmer wanting to integrate it into a software solution.

APIs simplify programming and can actually hide a system’s internal details, such as how it works, and expose useful parts for a programmer while keeping the parts consistent despite internal changes. You can find a variety of APIs these days for various purposes, such as operating systems, software libraries, programming languages, computer hardware, etc.

Furthermore, building an API requires you to follow a standard or document called API specification that tells you how to use or build an API.

APIs consist of many different parts acting as a collection of services or tools for the programmer’s use. The programmer or program using these parts must make a “call” or request first. These calls are referred to as requests, methods, endpoints, or subroutines. You can four types of requests with API – GET, PUT, DELETE, POST.

Components of an API

APIs include technical specifications that explain data exchange between services via requests for data processing and delivery. They also have a software interface to enable applications to exchange information. APIs also have:

  • Protocols: They are a set of rules to define the way applications interact with one another, such as HTTP, SOAP, XML-RPC, REST, etc.
  • Format: This is the style for data exchange between applications. It defines how the API will retrieve data and supply it to the consumers. API can make requests through a protocol and retrieve information in a certain format, such as XML or JSON response.
  • Procedures: They are specific tasks or functions that an application performs.
  • Tools: They are used to build APIs. You can find many tools available to build, test, and manage your APIs, such as AWS, IBM Cloud, SoapUI, JMeter, etc.

Types of APIs

APIs are of different types based on different parameters. Based on release policy, APIs are categorized into three types – public, private, and partner.

Public APIs

They are available for use by any third-party user or developer and allow you to increase your brand’s awareness and income with proper execution. They are of two types – open and commercial.

  • Open API: The features are public, and people can use them freely without any restrictions or approval from the publisher. Its documentation and description must also be available for public use to create new applications.
  • Commercial APIs are available for public use, but you might have to pay certain fees for using the API. Many publishers offer a free trial of the APIs for a limited period before people pay a subscription fee.

Private APIs

Public APIs are designed to improve services and solutions within an enterprise. Their developers can use them to integrate applications and IT systems and build apps and systems using the existing systems.

Although the applications are available for public use, the app interface is only available to people working with the API owner. This allows the API publishers or owners to control the API’s usage and safeguard its integrity.

Partner APIs

Partner APIs can be promoted openly but are shared only with the publisher’s business partners who have signed a mutual agreement. Partner APIs are commonly used for software integration.

A company can grant its partners access to certain capabilities or data while monitoring key aspects. It will continuously monitor how the shared assets are used, manage corporate identity across applications, and ensure the third parties utilizing their APIs offer a good user experience.

Based on use cases, APIs are of different types:

Web APIs

Web APIs are a common type of API that provides machine-readable functionality and data transfer between two or more web-based services or systems representing a client-server architecture. They are primarily used to deliver server responses and web app requests using the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

Web APIs help extend an application’s or site’s functionality. For example, you can use Google Map API to add a map with your organization’s location to your website.

Operating System APIs

Operating system (OS) APIs define how an application can use the services and resources of an operating system. Each OS comprises different APIs, such as Windows API.

Database APIs

Database APIs are used to interact with an application with a database management system (DBMS). Your developers can leverage databases, write queries for data access, change tables, and perform other actions.

Remote APIs

Remote APIs are communication standards for applications that run on multiple machines. It is called “remote” because a software solution can access external resources from a device making a request.

In this arrangement, two remote applications communicate with each other over a network (internet). Hence, a large number of remote APIs are developed following a web standard. Examples of remote APIs can be Java Remote Method Invocation API.

APIs can also be of more types:

  • REST APIs: REST APIs or RESTful APIs are designed to make requests and receive HTTP responses. It is based on various HTTP commands – GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.
  • RPC APIs: Remote Procedure Call (RPC) APIs are early APIs designed to run a code block on different servers. It transforms into Web API when you use it over HTTP.
  • SOAP APIs: Simple Object Access Control Protocol (SOAP) refers to a standard protocol that depends on XML-based programming and systems and has more expensive and large data. They offer a high security level and are used widely in finance-based applications.

Examples of APIs

APIs are everywhere. They are used in services, software solutions, websites, and many other avenues. Let’s look at some of the popular APIs as examples. Their aim can be the same, but they may use different specifications and protocols.

  • Ecommerce APIs: Ecommerce APIs are of different types. They can help display products on a shopping site, ship products, manage orders and payments, convert currencies, and so on. Examples:
    • Product data APIs help collect product information from your site for your visitors.
    • Payment APIs collect electronic payments from your site or application by acting as an intermediary between the payment processor and your site.
    • Shipping API can calculate shipping fees based on the distance for your users.
  • WeatherAPI: WeatherAPI is an excellent example of API, which serves as a free weather and geolocation information solution. Weather APIs serve various purposes, such as IT lookups, weather forecasts, astronomy, time zone, sports, etc.
  • Yelp API: This is a GraphQL based API for collecting customer reviews and recommendations used by restaurants, shops, hotels, and other establishments to understand how customers perceive a business. It also helps customers read public reviews and decide whether to consider the business for their subsequent use or not.

Other examples include shopping online, playing online games, browsing social media, using a bank application, detecting information from a site, and many other things you do with the internet.

Microservices vs API: How Do They Work?

After we have discussed microservices vs API in terms of what they are actually, let’s compare how they actually work.

How Do Microservices Work?

To understand how microservices work, let’s go back to the past.

Traditional software development, which still continues in many organizations, uses monolithic architecture. A “monolith” refers to a single, large application holding all of its functionality and features and storing everything in one place.

This means the entire components of an application, including the business logic, data access, and UI, are stored in the same place.

This software development is, in fact, easy and comes naturally. This is why many still opt for it. However, it gets tricky if you want to add more functionality to your application in order to make it appealing or increase its purpose, usability, security, etc. Adding more functionality to the existing codebase can increase the complexity and size of the monolith, which invites various issues, such as:

  • The change can affect the overall application even if you want to make a small change. You might require to redeploy the complete application, which is risky and time and resource-consuming.
  • Due to their tight-coupled structure, monoliths are not flexible. So, it restricts the tech stack as well, especially when the application scales. You may find difficulty in changing your tech stack and can be forced to use the old technologies with so many underlying issues.
  • It’s risky because if any vulnerability is left undressed and the part is compromised, the attack can spread throughout the application, compromising the entire application and its data.

Hence, breaking an application’s functions into different parts seems like an excellent approach to addressing all these issues, which is exactly what microservices do. Let’s understand how microservices architecture is put in motion.

In a microservices architecture, applications are structured into reusable, discrete services communicating via an API. Each service is organized around a particular business process and adheres to one communication protocol such as HTTP. These smaller services are then integrated separately with their dependencies and other data into the application.

So, if you want to make some changes to one functionality, you can do that without affecting the other parts of the application with ease.

These capabilities make microservices desirable for modern software development approaches like DevOps. Although microservices architecture is not entirely a new concept since it evolved from traditional approaches and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), it is now widespread due to recent technological advancements such as containerization.

Using Linux containers, you can easily run various app parts separately on single hardware with greater controls.

How Do APIs Work?

The application programming interface (API) delivers user responses to systems and sends the responses back to users.

This is the simplest version of putting how an API works, but a lot happens in the background. An API allows a developer to make a request or call to transfer information. This interaction happens through JSON programming. It also performs many actions such as adding and removing data, collecting information, and updating details. It’s done through four commands:

  • GET: Collect information
  • PUT: Update data
  • DELETE: Delete something (like product information)
  • POST: Create something (like a new blog post)

Without APIs, a lot of the fun stuff you do online wouldn’t be possible, such as playing video online games, ordering products from virtual stores, finding the Facebook profile of a long lost friend, and so on.

API works as an intermediate interface to allow two applications to interact with each other and fulfill your request.

For example, when you want to order bike accessories from Amazon, you visit the application and put the item into your cart. Next, the interface will take you to the delivery address and payments page for you to enter.

This is where communication between applications takes place, thanks to the API. For example, if you have chosen Google Pay as your payment processor, the application will send your bank credentials to another application for verification. Once verified and confirmed, the second application will notify Google Pay of this to complete this transaction.

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Once you’ve entered your PIN and proceeded with the transaction, Google pay will facilitate the data exchange and complete the payment. At that time, your order will be placed.

By allowing software products and services to communicate with each other, APIs simplify app development, money, and time. API would give you the flexibility and design control to innovate.

Microservices vs API: Benefits of Each

Let’s compare microservices vs API on how beneficial they are for developers, end users, and businesses.

Benefits of Using Microservices

Diving an application’s functions into smaller services or microservices comes with many benefits. Let’s explore each one.

  • Modularity: It means dividing services into different modules with their own set of functionality and dependencies to make an application easy to develop, test, and understand. It reduces the complexities and difficulties businesses face with the monolithic software development approach.
  • Distributed Development: The microservices architecture streamlines the development process as smaller teams can be given the responsibility to develop, test, deploy, and grow services separately and in parallel.
  • Scalability: In microservices, a loosely coupled approach is implemented, separating the business logic, data access layer, and database. In contrast, microservices can be developed and deployed independently to perform their tasks and can be scaled easily. Due to precise scaling, you can scale only those components that you want.
  • Independent Deployment: Since the services are small and can be deployed independently, any change you make won’t affect the entire application. So, when you want to update a feature, you can take a microservice to directly start working on it and deploy it without redeploying the complete application.
  • Seamless Integration: With microservices, you can actually modernize your current monolithic application. This can be done using integrating legacy and heterogeneous systems. Microservices are also easy to integrate with many technologies and tools to help enhance your application’s features, functionality, and security.
  • Flexibility: Microservices provide you with better flexibility. You are free to use any tech stack with programming languages, libraries, frameworks, and other tools if supported for different components or services. Hence, you can build the latest and more advanced services to complement your application with the latest features and security features.
  • Security: Microservices architecture helps increase your application’s security. They are made to cope with compromises and failures. As various kinds of services communicate inside this architecture, a service can fail due to server issues, cyberattacks, etc. Even if one of the services fails, it won’t take down the entire application; the other parts will still perform as expected.
  • Simple Routing: Microservices follow a simple routing approach to receive requests and transmit responses accordingly. Microservices are developed with smart endpoints or clients that can seamlessly process information and apply business logic according to the requirements. However, other strategies like Enterprise Service Buses (ESBs) don’t do this. They utilize high-tech systems for applying business policies and message routing.
  • Increased Productivity: In a distributed development methodology where responsibilities are divided, it helps increase organizational productivity. A large task can be divided into smaller tasks that seem easily achievable with accuracy.
  • Easier Maintenance and Debugging: Creating smaller services is easier for developers to code and debug. They can analyze the overall services quickly to spot errors and issues in contrast to the scene when they had to analyze a massive application with all its dependencies and features.
  • Faster Time to Market: As a result of faster code development, testing, debugging, and deployment while ensuring quality, your time-to-market will be faster. You can take early feedback and improve your application faster instead of deploying everything at once. This will help you produce quality applications that customers love using.

Although microservices seem like an efficient approach that can offer you plenty of benefits (which it does), there are some challenges too.

  • Moving from a traditional monolithic architecture to microservices can be complex, with plenty of services, teams, and deployments.
  • New software versions can pose backward compatibility problems
  • More networks will invite more connectivity and latency issues
  • Logging data can be a burden

However, DevOps can address a lot of these problems; it may have challenges of its own. Calculating the risks and benefits still weighs a lot more than the risks.

Benefits of Using APIs

APIs have become crucial in the modern business world, with people leveraging the internet and services like never before. Here are some of the benefits of APIs:

  • Speed: APIs offer incredible speed for various tasks for both businesses and users. They help accelerate operations to offer agility for businesses and reduce hassles for customers. For instance, if you want to order something online, you can directly go to your application and check whether the item is available or not.
  • Scalability: If you are a growing business, the first thing you must ensure is whether your tech stack is scalable or not. It will offer you the opportunity to grow your business with time. Using an API will give you tremendous flexibility and scalability to expand your products, increase the number of catalogs, manage increasing data, and handle growing security risks.
  • Security: Using APIs is a great way to enhance your application’s security. The reason is that when you make an API call, you are not directly connected to a web server. Instead, you are sending a small amount of data that the API delivers to the server and takes responses from the server. Hence, your application remains safe from attackers.
  • Increases Productivity: Using APIs will enable developers to implement more functionalities quickly. Instead of doing it from scratch. It will save a lot of time and effort for the business and developers who can dedicate time to innovation.
  • Reduces IT Cost: Building an application, however small or big, involves a significant investment. You will need technologies, tools, and people along with other resources to support your development process. But you can avoid all of them once by using a suitable API to build your application or enhance its functionality without spending a fortune.
  • Promotes Collaboration: Maintaining smooth and safe connectivity and communication has become troublesome for organizations due to increased security risks. But using private APIs can help boost communications and collaboration in your team or organization.
  • Boosts Innovation: Heavy competition across industry verticals has made innovation crucial for businesses. In addition, customer demands are changing, but companies must strive to meet those demands.
  • Improved Customer Experience: APIs are beneficial for end users as well. They help customers interact with businesses seamlessly and make them understand their challenges, preferences, and interests. In turn, businesses can take these inputs to work on them and improve their products and services while coming up with innovative solutions to meet their demands.

With APIs, businesses can also personalize customer experiences, which is a key factor in determining your success. For example, you can use artificial intelligence (AI) based APIs to analyze your customers’ buying journey, from when they visited your website to when they finally purchased from you. This will help you map out their difficulties and resolve them and add new functionality like more payment options to make the purchase easier for them.

Like microservices, APIs also come with certain challenges despite offering awesome benefits, such as:

  • Not all APIs are secure, which is the primary concern organizations face while using APIs. It may render your application vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hence, if you want to use an API, choose it carefully, keeping in mind its security and compliance aspects.
  • APIs can make your application’s performance rely on their performance. Hence, if the API has some issues, it will affect your application’s performance, even though your application doesn’t have any issues in itself. This implies that if the API is compromised by an attacker, your data can also be.
  • APIs are so good that organizations may end up using a lot of them, even in hundreds. Now, the problem is that when multiple APIs run with their services, dependencies, and endpoints, it can become difficult for the organization to handle them. You may feel overwhelmed to control the API usage in your organization, monitor data, and protect their security.

Microservices vs API: What Are They Used For?

Next up is comparing microservices vs APIs based on what their uses are.

Uses of Microservices

Some of the many use cases of microservices are:

  • Modernizing Legacy Applications: Modern businesses must adopt agile technologies and move from legacy systems in order to meet the latest demands and be future-ready. And to build a sturdy and advanced IT infrastructure, you need to refactor your current infrastructure with microservices. It will allow you to deploy full stack applications and software solutions that can scale based on the demands.
  • Applications Offering Third Party Services: Applications offering third-party solutions and services such as plugins, analytics tools, monitoring solutions, security tools, data transfer applications, etc., require heavy computational resources like CPU and RAM. They need these resources for their operations as they involve complex logic and are more extensive. They also need to-nitch uptime to continue serving the users.
  • DevOps: The DevOps model uses microservices as one of its key components. These two technologies actually complement each other a lot and work flawlessly to provide plenty of benefits for businesses. DevOps aims to accelerate the software development lifecycle while ensuring quality, and microservices help development teams to do just that.
  • Big Data: Big Data needs careful collection, processing, and delivery through a clear pipeline-based architecture. Microservices can help in this since they can handle each smaller task easily at each step within their data pipeline.
  • AI and ML: Advanced analytics ecosystems such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, energy, and manufacturing require high-performing computational capabilities to evaluate their models against new ones to enable a smooth switch. Microservices can enable you to evaluate your models accurately using testing methods like A/B testing.

Apart from the above, microservices are used in applications used across channels like login services, notification solutions, travel and hotel booking services, and more. Big players like Airbnb, Amazon, eBay, Coca-Cola, Twitter, and Netflix are some of the leading adopters of microservices.

Uses of APIs

APIs are used everywhere, from IT and software to finance, health care, education, retail, weather, social media, travel and hospitality, automotive, entertainment, and many more. These enable you to make end-to-end connections to view and exchange data across different channels.

Let’s find out more about how different industries utilize APIs:

  • Web Applications: Web applications leverage APIs to connect backend data, systems, and functionality with user-facing frontends. Businesses can save a lot of development time and expenditure using suitable APIs that can serve a specific purpose instead of creating a software solution from scratch. They can also integrate the different applications to increase their productivity and operational efficiency.
  • Entertainment: Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify use APIs for content distribution. For example, Netflix provides a unified API – Netflix API released in 2008 to emphasize building amazing applications by its developer community to enhance customers’ experiences.
  • Finance: Financial institutions (such as banks) utilize APIs to manage and track accounts, debit and credit cards, transactions, and more. The API-based approach for connection allows financial institutions to integrate different applications and deliver a robust and responsive experience to their partners and customers alike.
  • Retail: Using APIs, retailers can deliver improved customer experience by letting them engage more with products and brands. APIs provide them with a platform to connect different endpoints and deliver better quality service with control. They can take inventory calls in real-time using APIs for end-to-end transactions and special kiosks.
  • Healthcare: Healthcare institutions can use APIs to deliver better patient care by making data accessible easily throughout an organization, keeping everyone from employees to physicians in the loop so they can understand patient needs properly and diagnose or recommend suitable care.
  • Automotive: Automotive companies, such as Tesla, use APIs to send software updates, patch software for security and efficiency and unlock care information for third parties. This way, they not only can improve customer experiences but also ensure their software runs at optimal performance.
  • Travel and Hospitality: Travel and hotel booking sites and applications use APIs to collect thousands of destinations, hotels in different cities, flight, train, bus ticket availability, etc. They also do it to confirm the bookings. Using APIs ease the process for businesses to show data and confirm booking, instead of doing rounds with hotels and airlines through phone calls or emails that might take forever to get a response.
  • Weather Snippets: Using APIs, companies can source weather data from thorn parties and show you the results, such as Apple’s Weather app, Google Search, etc.
  • Ecommerce: Ecommerce sites use plenty of APIs to track shipping, manage inventory, process payments (such as PayPal API), social media, and so on.

Microservices vs API: Similarities and Differences

Now that you know what microservices vs API are, each independently with their components, uses, and benefits, it’s time we bring them face to face.

Similarities

First, let’s look at the similarities between microservices and APIs:

  • Both microservices and APIs are used in software development with an aim to accelerate development, testing, and deployment while maintaining quality.
  • They support cloud-based applications.
  • Both these technologies offer scalability to support your applications when they grow more extensive and more functionality will be added to them.
  • Microservices and APIs both offer agility for developing application modules and functions.
  • Both can help reduce expenses in software development by reducing complexities, the chances of errors, and risks.
  • Due to their distributed nature, microservices and API both provide security. Even if a service is compromised, it won’t affect other services. Hence it contributes to safety for data and other organizational assets. This also helps meet audit and compliance requirements.

Differences

Microservices are the building blocks of an application, but API is a thread that binds each component of a microservices-based application. Let’s compare microservices vs API on different grounds.

  • Microservices architecture is a software development model that divides an application into smaller components or services. On the other hand, an API is an interface or an intermediary between two applications communicating with one another. It consists of functions and procedures to help consumers use an application’s underlying services.
  • The components of microservices can be considered as “building blocks” of an application. You can consider APIs as a “functional block” responsible for performing a certain task, such as payment processing through PayPal API.
  • Microservices are a complete architecture with multiple, smaller services, whereas an API is a component of microservices that helps improve the effectiveness of microservices architecture.
  • The components of a microservices architecture are business logic, APIs, a data access layer, and a database. On the other hand, the components of an API are a protocol, format, procedures or functions, and tools.
  • Microservices are of two types: stateless and stateful microservices. However, APIs can be public, private, partner APIs, database APIs, REST APIs, remote APIs, SOAP APIs, and more.

Can Microservices and API Work Together? How?

Well, the answer is “Yes!”

Microservices and API can work together in an application. Although they can exist separately, using both together in your application can help organizations effectively implement the microservices architecture.

Many companies face difficulties deploying microservices architecture when they already have other architectures deployed. In addition, integrating multiple, smaller services and benefitting from them is problematic.

Therefore, implementing an integration strategy using APIs is essential to make the most out of microservices architecture.

Using APIs, companies can achieve the full flexibility and speed that microservice provides in addition to reducing complexity in software development and deployment.

API can make it effortless to build and manage your microservices while allowing this new model to coexist with traditional or legacy systems. This way, you don’t have to discard all your legacy systems once, which can put significant stress on organizations. In addition, you can expose your microservices functionality as products, which helps increase business value both externally and internally.

Furthermore, APIs can help reduce IT costs for making a point-to-point integration between your SaaS applications and legacy systems. This way, you can quickly add or remove microservices based on your business needs. They also standardize traffic management, monitoring, auditing, logging, security, etc., across the organization.

Hence, combining microservices with API allows you to achieve all the goodness of microservices and limit their drawbacks.

If you want your application to strive, you have to add improved features and functionality to meet customers' needs. 👀Enter, APIs and microservices architecture. 🚀Click to Tweet

Summary

Microservices and APIs are used in software development, and both offer an organization plenty of benefits such as scalability, flexibility, agility, and security while producing software with high quality.

However, many confuse between the two because services in a microservices architecture use APIs for communication. And hence, this battle of microservices vs API started.

Microservices architecture is a software development model where an application’s functions are broken down into smaller functions, each with its own dependencies and data. On the other hand, APIs are intermediaries that allow two applications to communicate.

In fact, using microservices and APIs together instead of comparing them can bring a lot more benefits to your organization. It can actually increase the effectiveness of your microservice model while boosting your application’s scalability, security, compliance needs, and reducing costs.

What microservices or APIs have you utilized lately? Let us know in the comments section!


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