Most popular API architecture styles in our Digital World

In today’s interconnected digital world, where billions of API calls are made daily, a deep understanding of API architecture styles holds immense significance. This article aims to explore these styles that serve as the backbone of our technological infrastructure.

Ajay Rathod
Published in
4 min readMay 31, 2023


Source: ByteByteGo

REST (Representational State Transfer): REST is a widely adopted architectural style for designing networked applications. It is based on a set of principles and constraints, such as using standard HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) for resource manipulation, statelessness, and a uniform interface. REST APIs use URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) to identify resources, and they exchange data in various formats like JSON or XML.

Let’s say we have a simple e-commerce system with a RESTful API for managing products. We can define endpoints and HTTP methods to perform various operations on the product's resources.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol): SOAP is an XML-based protocol for exchanging structured information over networks. It follows a strict set of rules and uses the XML schema for defining the structure of messages. SOAP APIs typically use the HTTP protocol, but they can also use other protocols like SMTP or TCP. SOAP APIs provide a higher level of protocol abstraction and support more advanced features like encryption and transaction management. The banking and finance industry generally uses soap for security reasons.

SOAP is commonly used in enterprise environments where complex integrations between different systems are required. It provides a strict and standardized messaging protocol that supports advanced features like encryption, digital signatures, and reliable messaging. This makes it suitable for scenarios where security, reliability, and transactional support are critical

GraphQL: GraphQL is an API query language and runtime that allows clients to request specific data from a server. It provides a flexible and efficient approach to data fetching, where clients can request only the data they need and receive it in a single response. Unlike REST, where each endpoint returns a fixed set of data, GraphQL APIs have a single endpoint and clients can shape the response according to their requirements.

powerful querying capabilities of GraphQL make it attractive for companies facebook, GitHub, Shopify, and Twitter to use GraphQL

gRPC (Google Remote Procedure Call): gRPC is a high-performance, open-source framework developed by Google for building remote procedure call (RPC) APIs. It uses the Protocol Buffers (protobuf) as the interface definition language and supports multiple programming languages. gRPC APIs enable efficient communication between services by utilizing binary serialization and HTTP/2 for transport, providing features like bidirectional streaming and authentication.

gRPC offers to build efficient and scalable distributed systems. Google, Netflix, Square, and Uber are some of the companies that uses them.

WebSocket: WebSocket is a communication protocol that provides full-duplex communication channels over a single TCP connection. Unlike traditional HTTP connections that are request-response based, WebSocket allows real-time, two-way communication between a client and a server. It enables continuous data exchange, where both the client and server can send messages to each other without the need for repeated requests. WebSocket is commonly used in applications that require real-time updates, such as chat applications, collaborative tools, and streaming services.

WebSocket’s ability to provide low-latency, bidirectional communication makes it suitable for applications requiring real-time data exchange and instant updates.

Generally messaging application uses WebSocket for example Slack, Discord, Trello, and Robinhood these companies use.

Webhook: A webhook is a mechanism for automatically notifying or triggering events in one system by sending HTTP POST requests to a predefined URL (endpoint) in another system. It allows two systems to communicate with each other by sending data in near real-time. When a specific event or condition occurs in the source system, it triggers the webhook, which then sends the relevant data payload to the target system’s endpoint. Webhooks are commonly used for integrating different services and systems, enabling real-time data synchronization, event-driven workflows, and automated notifications.

Companies like Stripe and GitHub uses this API style

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Ajay Rathod

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