API or Web Service - what’s the difference?

Modified on Mon, 22 Jan 2018 at 11:44 AM

API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a way to facilitate communication between your internal or external applications or other third party data providers. APIs can pass data directly between applications living on the same server or over a network.  APIs themselves do not have to be externally accessible, they can be a programmatic interface between two internal systems written in any number of programming languages.

If your API is web based or sends data over a network using HTTP or HTTPS it is called a Web Service. All web services are APIs; but not all APIs are Web Services as they are not required to send data through HTTP.  The most common format for web services today is called REST which stands for REpresentational State Transfer. Most websites today consume third-party data using web services.

APIs and Web Services are an integral part of any integration strategy. Illuminate can eliminate the need for developing many programmatic APIs. Illuminate can also bridge the gap between your internally developed APIs by exposing data as a web service, exposing SQL queries and stored procedures as web services, or by facilitating transformation and integration workflows on existing web services. 

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