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Understanding the Differences between APIs and Web Services

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Technology and its ever-evolving nature can be quite challenging to comprehend, especially if one isn’t technologically adept. Not to mention that with every innovation, new terminology comes up.

Today, we’ll be discussing the differences between web services and APIs, two terms that many tend to interchange mistakenly. 

What Are Web Services?

Web services are software components that allow applications to communicate over the internet. They are like APIs that don’t require written code, but they do need additional web programming to work.

There are two types of web services: SOAP and REST. SOAP forms the base for web services that use structured data, such as XML and JSON. In this type of web service, a client accesses an endpoint, which it uses to get the data it needs. This data gets sent back to the client, using it for whatever purpose.

On the other hand, REST follows a more straightforward approach to web services. It doesn’t require any structured data and mainly functions when you only need a small and specific set of data.

What Are APIs?

Application Programming Interface (API) is a piece of code that allows new and existing software applications to interact with other applications. In addition, APIs make it possible to transfer data and content between different applications, allowing them to function the way you want them to.

You can think of an API as a way for third-party developers to access your product and build on it. If a company wants to create a new feature, it can use the API to access your company’s data.

You have likely come across this feature before. An excellent example would be the function that allows you to use your Facebook account to log in to other applications, like Spotify. Booking a flight through travel sites is also one example of using APIs in real life. 

Which One Does Your Business Need?

APIs and web services sometimes overlap in that all web services are APIs, but not all APIs are web services. Furthermore, APIs can function online and offline while web services cannot.

Aside from these key distinctions, APIs and web services also differ in terms of functionality. The question now is, which one does your business need? If you’re searching for something that can perform one of the following, then you’re looking to have APIs for your business.

  • Provide information about a subject matter
  • Offer the ability to request information
  • Bind services 

What Happens Next?

The first step is to find a software developer if you don’t have one in-house. They can take your business’s idea and create an application based on it. Your team should also finalize ideas for your web service during your search.

Having a solid idea to present makes it easier to collaborate with the software developer, who will likely offer their input on improving the final product. After extensive meetings, the software developer will work on your web service, and then you will need a quality assurance (QA) company to test it out.

QA companies have the programmers and resources to test your web service for flaws during the development phase. They can also try the application before its official release, providing feedback to the software developer. Working with a QA company is a must since you don’t want your web service going live only to find out later on that it has numerous bugs and security flaws.

Ending Note

Web services are programmatic interfaces for software components utilized to connect apps, sites, and various other services over the internet. They are designed to support the exchange of data between applications, and they send, receive, and process data over the web.

If you aren’t sure if you need web services, we recommend reviewing what a web service can do to see if it fits your business requirements. Additionally, you must keep in mind that working with developers during this endeavor can also make the process easier to understand. 

Should you push forth with web service development, you need to keep in mind that a QA company can ensure the successful launch of your web services. Codoid is a leading quality assurance company that strives to implement the best possible strategies to check if your web service is ready for launch. Contact us today to get started!


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