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The differences between microservices and APIs

differences between microservices and APIs

Microservices and APIs are getting a lot of attention in the media these days. But the big question is, what are the differences between microservices and APIs.


Microservices are a specific technique for developing software systems. It focuses on growing single-purpose components, along with well-defined boundaries and operations. The concept has gained wide-scale traction because it helps companies to be more flexible and scalable.

There are numerous benefits to microservices. First, they are easier to implement which helps companies not to alter other services. Second, the reusability factor across the company’s organization allows for easy access. Third, you also have quick turnaround capabilities. Fourth, microservices are able to quickly pinpoint the problem and solve it.

Additionally, microservices help to resolve the problem of legacy systems by being as integrated as required. Since microservices are usually connected through APIs, they are able to have access to many of the solutions that are provided via this technology. Discover how microservices are helping businesses innovate faster.


APIs, on the other hand, stands for Application Programming Interface. Sounds good on paper, but what does an API actually do? Simply put, APIs are a messenger! Think of the idea of the waiter and the guest at a restaurant. The guest tells the waiter what he/she wants for dinner, and the waiter relays that information back to the kitchen. Then, the waiter will turn around and bring your order back to the guest. That analogy applies to APIs. They allow for agile endpoints to connect.

Pluses of APIs

What are the real pluses to APIs? They allow flexibility and functionality between systems. The real deal behind APIs is their ability to allow for speed and agility. An API endpoint separates the overriding application from the infrastructure that provides a service to the customer.

This means that chores such as tracking an order can be carried out via a phone or mobile device. This allows your enterprise to catapult legacy systems and cumbersome portals. Bye-bye to the days of outdated systems that slow your enterprise down and derail digital transformation. Read about the benefits of robust APIs.

A good example of APIs in action is when you book your flight online. What happens? For starters, you have a menu to review with specific options. You go forth and select your departure and return. The breakdown is when you book the flight; you are in fact interacting with the airline’s site and database. The result, you are interacting with APIs which gives access to the airline’s information. Bottom line: APIs allow for the interaction between systems to connect.

Differences between microservices and APIs

So, what are the real differences between microservices and APIs? Microservice is a design that is separated into quantities of a usually large application into more smaller, independent services. Where an API is an agreement that provides direction for a consumer to use the service.

In reality, this equates to an API being a smaller amount of a microservice, which permits the ability for interaction with the actual microservice. Basically, an API serves as a contract for interactions within the microservices, allowing interaction between the two. Read how Novartis is innovating with APIs and microservices.

READ MORE: Six ways to scale enterprise-level APIs and microservices.

Microservices serve more than just being an API for a system. An entire application can embody a sequence of microservices that use their own APIs for interacting with one another. Further, microservices individually are able to draw from their own functions to have a more controllable operation.

Having a strong maintainable code is necessary for a fluid IT strategy. Also, having DevOps allows different areas to have a smoother integration. Further, an established CI/CD pipeline enables organizations to be more agile which can apply changes or fixes in shorter turnaround times.

Read how DevOps and microservices help companies innovate faster. Microservices contribute to this strategy by allowing enterprises teams to be more flexible. Microservices help keep APIs in check by working together to bring better capabilities for smoother integration.

READ MORE: How microservices and APIs are changing the way people think.

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