Software Development

Microservices vs APIs: What’s The Difference?

Hello. In this tutorial, we will check Microservices vs API and their biggest differences.

1. Introduction

Microservices in their real meaning is to develop a single application as a suite of independent small applications where each small application (known as microservice) runs its process and communicates with each other in the lightest way possible (such as with the help of synchronous or asynchronous communication).

microservices vs api
  • Microservices are exposed as RESTful services
  • Microservices are small services that can act as deployable units
  • Microservices can be cloud-enabled
  • Microservices is an SOA based architecture (i.e. Service Oriented architecture) meaning dividing the single application into smaller parts which each part implements business logic and is loosely coupled with other parts
  • Follows the Microservices principle:
    • Single responsibility principle where each microservice has only one responsibility
    • Each microservice is modeled around a particular business domain
    • Each microservice has its own failure mechanism so that the larger application remains unaffected and the failure can be detected quickly. If possible restore them
    • Each microservice offers the independent deployment

1.1 Microservices benefits

Microservices offers many advantages such as:

  • Big style monolithic applications are broken down into smaller parts making it easy for developers to code and maintain
  • With the microservices architecture in place, it has become easier for the developer to adapt different technology for each smaller application
  • Each smaller application (known as microservices) can independently scale based upon the application needs
  • Cost-effective and smaller size

1.2 Microservices disadvantages

Like every new architecture which has its advantages it also offers some of the restrictions like –

  • Each microservice configuration becomes a headache for configuration management as the developer becomes responsible for maintaining the configuration of different microservices in different environments
  • Tracking down each microservice calling is a painful job
  • Automation of continuous integration and continuous deployment for each microservice is a headache when the count of microservices increases with the new features coming up for the product
  • Testing also becomes a tough job

1.3 Microservices technology and tools

Some different techniques and tools are involved in microservices implementation. Some of these techniques and tools are:

  • Spring boot – One of the best frameworks to write business code as per the service-oriented architecture. Offers flexibility like Inversion of Control, Aspect-Oriented programming, JPA, Removing boilerplate code, etc
  • Dropwizard – Offers a simple lightweight of writing the microservices
  • Restlet – It is a framework famous among the Java developers to write endpoints following the RESTful architecture
  • Spark – Microservices basis the Java 8 and Kotlin style
  • Docker – Open source code to create, deploy, and run the application with the help of containers where developers can use these containers to run the application as a single package
  • Hystrix – Popularly known as a fault-tolerance java library

Check some of our Microservices tutorials.


REST stands for Representational state transfer and it fits in the HTTP protocol designed worldwide for the users. RESTful is:

  • Uniform interface for client-server communication
  • Stateless in nature meaning each request coming from the client should contain all the information required by the server to process the incoming request
  • Cacheable in nature
  • Support the HATEOAS principle to drive the links from the server-side rather than client hardcoding it
  • RESTful web services provide different HTTP request methods. Out of all these, the most common ones are –
    • GET – Obtaining information about the entity
    • POST – Creating a new entity
    • PUT – Updating the existing entity (if found) or creating a new one
    • DELETE – Deleting an entity
  • Does not restrict user for a specific format of the request. However in general the request is provided in the JSON format

3. Difference between Monolithic and Microservices

Let us understand the difference between microservices and microservices precursors i.e. monolithic applications.

 Monolithic applicationsMicroservices
ArchitectureBuilt as a single applicationBuilt as an independent application with a lightweight mechanism which is part of a bigger application
ModularityBased on languageBased on business or domain capability
AgilityChanges are applied to the entire applicationChanges are applied to independent application
ImplementationTypically written in one programming languageEach service is implemented in the programming language that best fits the business or domain capability
ScalingThe entire application is scaled horizontally behind a load balancerEach service can scale independently
MaintainabilityRequires patienceIt is easy
PerformanceDepends on the technological stackSometimes interacting with different technological stacks adds some performance trouble to the independent applications

That is all for this tutorial and I hope the article served you whatever you were looking for. Happy Learning and do not forget to share!

4. Microservices vs APIs – Summary

In this tutorial, we learned the biggest differences between Microservices vs API. We also learned about the REST API and the major difference between microservices and monolithic applications.

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An experience full-stack engineer well versed with Core Java, Spring/Springboot, MVC, Security, AOP, Frontend (Angular & React), and cloud technologies (such as AWS, GCP, Jenkins, Docker, K8).
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