Microservices and APIs are gaining popularity in software development, especially with the increasing need to produce scalable, secure, and flexible applications at faster turnaround times. Furthermore, with the frequently changing customer needs, the demand for high technological software solutions is the order of the day. Thus, using APIs and microservices provides convenience and ease in task completion.
The traditional approach to software solutions seems quite a headache for developers. The reason why traditional software architecture is complex and less efficient than the current ones is the difficulty in making changes in the software and the complexity that comes with it. A successful application must always add the latest features, improved changes, and functionalities that meet the latest customer needs. It is in this that the use of microservices and APIs proves to be essential.
While both focus on achieving a common goal of easing development, it is essential to understand clear-cut differences and their specificity. But before we explore the differences, let’s first gain some fundamental understanding of the two.
As the name suggests, microservices are small, loosely coupled services that allow independent deployment. From a developer’s view, we can consider these microservices as a set of different application functions– each serving a particular role. Therefore, this architecture combines different but loosely coupled processes with smaller components serving different functionalities. In addition, the services have different data management methods and technologies that can easily communicate with other application services through some medium – which include message brokers, streaming, and APIs. Such a strategy for building applications is shared among present-day developers.
Microservices’ components include the database, the database access layer, business logic, and APIs. Other features of this service include API gateways, clients, and Identity providers, among many more. So far, we understand that APIs are sub-components of the entire Microservices framework. Most organizations implementing microservices architecture include PayPal and Twitter, among other renowned organizations.
Application Programming Interface, API for short, defines an intermediary between two applications trying to communicate and interact. Therefore, the API acts as a connector between different programs through some interface. It serves as an interface to connect other software pieces. It is crucial to note that the end-user has no direct involvement with these APIs. The programmer needs to integrate the API to gain some software solution that leverages everything about the API. The APIs provide a simple way of programming that hides the system’s internal details and thus provide some form of security. They always expose whatever the programmer needs but hide other internal implementations.
There are many APIs available that help developers build reliable systems and software. Some instances of open APIs are programming languages and software libraries, among others. APIs have their development standards, so it is essential to stick to the API development specifications.
The API structure is a collection of different parts which serve as programming resources for the programmer. Any program that needs these parts must ensure an invocation of these resources. The calls could be subroutines, methods, or even requests. Some of the available recommendations in the API context include POST, DELETE, PUT and GET, among others.
With explanations and standards for exchanging information, the APIs play a significant role in processing and delivering information. However, it doesn’t just work as a whole but as a set of components, including protocols, format, procedures, and tools. Different types of APIs include open, public, private, commercial, web, and database, among others.
Microservices vs. API: – The working principle behind them
Let’s delve into a comparison of the active focus between microservices and APIs.
The working principle behind microservices
Most traditional software development approaches emphasize using a single application, which is the center of all functionality and everything else the programmer needs. With such a programming mode, data access, business logic, and all other components were centrally located. It is why such a mode of software development sounds more accessible, and many people still stick to it. However, storing all the information in a single central location could be one of the trickiest occurrences since adding functionality to previous development might seem difficult. In this context, the microservices approach chips in to serve a crucial role. Making changes to a monolithic architecture of an application would mean fundamental differences in the application or system under development. But that’s not fine, and it’s pretty riskier such that it might need continued redeployment. Such inflexibility fixes the developer to one difficult-to-update application.
Microservices break down the application into different functions, each serving a particular role to achieve a common goal. It’s good to note that this is the best approach to handle issues concerning development. The implementation of the microservices architecture occurs in a manner that services coded are made reusable and can discretely communicate with each other via an API. Furthermore, the divided services follow a specific business logic or process with adherence to standards within a particular protocol. It, therefore, means that, unlike in monolithic architecture, you can easily make changes in one functionality of the system or code without necessarily affecting the functionality of the other. Since such a development mode comes with many advantages, most developers quickly shift from the traditional approach to development. They are now adjusting desirable approaches to software development.
The working principle behind APIs
APIs serve a crucial role in sending responses to systems and relaying the responses as provided by the system back to the user. As the API serves the function of sending a request and giving feedback, it is crucial to understand that different things occur with implementing the API. The interaction occurring within the API occurs through JSON. Other roles associated with implementing the API are updating details, information collection, and data deletion. The following API-related commands serve some of these roles played by the API: GET, PUT, DELETE, and POST, among others.
Therefore, it is undeniably true that APIs play a significant role in development. For instance, without an API, it would be difficult to order products online and play video games remotely, among other services. Thus, it is a crucial interface for the interaction between two applications for exchanging important information.
Microservices vs. API: Benefits arising from each
Let’s also dive into the benefits that come with the use of microservices and APIs to understand more of the differences between them.
Advantages of using microservices
Flexibility: one of the best advantages and benefits to enjoy when developing an application is flexibility. A flexible application or system will always run anywhere. It is also notable that microservices allow the usage of programming languages of choice along with their frameworks and libraries as long as they have support from other components. Such enables the building of more advanced services as well.
Distributed development: Streamlining in the development process is one of the critical successes to achieve. Smaller development teams can quickly develop, test, and deploy more minor services and, ultimately, couple up to make a fully functional application.
Scalability – microservices come with more scalability for developers to enjoy. It implements a loose coupling effect, separating the business logic, data access layer, and database. Independent deployment of microservices ensures seamless scaling.
Modularity – a division of application services into different modules makes the development process easier to understand. Furthermore, modularity through microservices lessens the complexity and difficulties among application logic.
Security: any application or software under development will always need security implementations. Microservices protect applications since they can easily handle compromises and failures.
Seamless integration: it is required that systems and applications under development easily integrate with other legacy systems. Therefore, with the use of microservices, you can be sure that your application will easily integrate with the available technologies to enhance the application functionality.
Advantages of using APIs
APIs help leverage the internet with its services like never before. Some advantages of using APIs include speed, scalability, reduced IT costs, and boosting innovation.
Having gone through an in-depth discussion on APIs and microservices, the following are discoverable differences between them.
- Microservices are any application’s building block. An API is a thread binding the components of microservices.
- Microservices is an architecture breaking down development into small services, while API is an interface that enables two applications to communicate.
- Microservices contain multiple, more minor services in their fullness, while the API is part of microservices to improve the architecture’s effectiveness.
- Microservices have their components, as discussed above, while APIs have their details.
With the above discussion and differences, it’s now possible to denote an understanding of the two and how they vary from each other.
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