Understanding the difference between WebHooks and REST API, Pro & Cons of both methods

Softwares primarily perform the task of data transfer and management, wherein they usually relay data between the user and the server. In other cases, it is also possible that software performs the task of transferring data to and fro between servers or users. All these different types of software use API integration to share or obtain data as required or demanded.

Understanding APIs & WebHooks

The best way to understand the purpose of APIs & WebHooks is to envision graphs or webpage elements that refresh automatically. Whenever the information regarding a subject changes based on an event, the page elements or graphs update on their own.

The action that facilitates updating values, data, or pictorial representations is backed by connections established with the servers. So, then what are these connections, and who establishes them? Indeed, something performs the job of transferring or presenting the latest event-based data, correct?

Yes. Here’s where APIs come into play!

But wait, another alternative method that performs a somewhat similar function exists, called WebHook.

So let’s first understand them individually to understand the core differences between WebHooks and Rest API. Doing so will ultimately help you learn and understand which of both are best in which use cases!

What is an API?

An API can be considered a portal or a medium that allows functionality and information exchange between two or more data software services. By definition, APIs are Application Programming Interfaces that serve to connect two applications to exchange data, execute operations, etc.

Collectively, there are more than twenty thousand different types of APIs across databases that can be used or leveraged on the World Wide Web. They primarily help to establish connections between software for sharing information. Their functioning includes a receiver software requesting data that the sender software forwards.

Gaining a simplistic understanding of What an API is can also be done by considering it like a web browser. Like a web browser allows data transfer or interaction between the user and the web, APIs allow the software to exchange data as requested. APIs usually fulfill communication initiated by the receiver.

What is a WebHook?

The WebHook can be regarded as an API that completes the task of communication between software based on events. A WebHook serves the purpose of transferring data between the sender and receiver soon as an event is triggered.

It is why the WebHook is also sometimes referred to as Reverse API, where the sender initiates the communication. Today, most web services, programs, applications, and webpages use WebHooks to provide various services and functionalities.

For instance, obtaining a Google News Update from a subscribed topic is fulfilled by an event Based API Call. Hence, the Google News Subscription services are a fine example of the use of WebHooks. Likewise, WebHooks are a go-to solution for enabling real-time data and notification updates without needing a full-scale API.

Is Rest API Different from WebHook?

The answer is Yes, A Rest API is synonymous with APIs because it always rests unless pulled or refreshed by the user or the software. The Rest API always follows predefined rules, which is why they require polling several times during the day to collect the latest information.

WebHooks vary significantly from the Rest API because they help to lessen the load on the API server. By diminishing the need to bombard requests on the server and triggering data communication based on events, WebHooks deliver real-time results as made available.

Pros & Cons of Rest API & WebHook!

Understanding the differences between Rest API and WebHooks is critical to saving costs and resources. So, check out their differences below:

  • APIs are best for use when the data constantly changes and needs to be updated frequently.
  • WebHooks are best useful in specific event-based trigger scenarios when frequent data updating is not required.
  • WebHooks cannot perform the complete CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) operations between software, unlike API.
  • APIs can enable other applications to use its data for different purposes, enabling the expansion of services & functionality across applications.
  • One can simply create WebHooks by setting up POST requests, but they are not scalable. A new WebHook is easier to create for another event than reconfiguring the existing one anew.

Why WebHooks Are Essential For Real-Time Integrations!

WebHooks simplify delivering or receiving real-time data between applications and connected clients. By automatically triggering data transfer to the receiver, WebHooks can provide on-the-go or OTA updates, making them essential for today’s applications.

A live instance of WebHook is when a user purchases a channel subscription on Twitch. Without the broadcaster refreshing the subscription counter service, the webhook entertains the delivery of data to the broadcaster software from the payment gateway system.

Hence, in this manner, WebHooks are essential to provide and enable real-time integrations between software. However, one must know that WebHooks demand the receiver to remain online. Otherwise, it cannot fulfill sending the alert to the receiver(s).

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