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Know the Difference Between REST API and RESTful API

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  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 28 Jun, 2022
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APIs (Application Programming Interface) acts as an interface between two applications to interact and provide the relevant data. It uses a set of protocols using which the operation is done. Salesforce was the first organization to officially launch API, followed by eBay and Amazon. Also, 60% of transactions made on eBay use their APIs. If we talk about its growth, nearly two-thirds of organizations rely on APIs and it has gained popularity 13 times since 2007. 


Let’s understand this better with the help of an example. Imagine you’re extremely hungry, you order food from an online food delivery app (take the example of Zomato) and there’s no tracking system to track your delivery boy. In that case, you would never know where your delivery boy is? There comes API with the rescue. In this scenario, Zomato requests location access from Google Maps through APIs, and a response is sent to Zomato from where we can track the location. APIs act as a mediator between two applications which provides interactions between them. 

After knowing all these things about API, let’s dig deeper and know more.

But, before reading about API, let’s know what is web services and how is it connected to API?

Web Service uses a collection of open-source protocols to exchange data between applications whereas API acts as an interface between two applications to facilitate interaction with each other. The key difference is web service supports only HTTP while API supports HTTP/HTTPS protocol. A type of API is a web service.

Note: All Web services are APIs but all APIs are not web services.

There are two types of web services used mostly i.e., SOAP and REST 

  • SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol designed to exchange data with the security of programs that are built on different platforms or using different programming languages. To get more information about SOAP click here.
  • REST (Representational State Transfer), is an API that follows a set of rules through which applications and servers communicate. It was specifically designed for working with components like files, objects, and media components. 

REST uses HTTP requests like GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE to manage CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) operations. When you start reading about REST, you would also like to read about RESTful and know the differences between them. While REST is a set of constraints, RESTful is an API adhering to those constraints. 

Difference Between REST and RESTful API




Define Develops APIs to enable client-server interaction. Web application follows REST architecture, providing interoperability between different systems.
Working Uses web services and is based on request and response. Working is completely based on REST applications.
Nature Highly adaptable and user-friendly Too flexible
Protocol Strong protocol and is more secure, built-in architecture layers. Has a transport protocol, is less secure as compared to REST.
Architecture Has a cacheable, client-server, stateless, layer system with a uniform interface. All features of REST architecture along with some additional unique features.
Format of Data Format of data is based on HTTP. Format of data is based on HTTP, text, and JSON.
Bandwidth This consumes minimum bandwidth. This consumes less bandwidth.
Cache It represents cacheable and non-cacheable data and displaces the non-cacheable data when not required. The client can access cacheable information anytime and anywhere.
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