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Differences between Webhooks and APIs

Before starting with the main differences between webhooks and APIs, first, we need to know the definition of both.

Differences between Webhooks and APIs
Differences between Webhooks and APIs

What Is API

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of rules and protocols that defines how two pieces of software can communicate with each other. An API specifies the types of requests that can be made, the parameters that can be passed, and the format of the data that is returned.

What Is Webhook

Webhooks are a way for a web server to send a message or data to another application when a certain event occurs. Webhooks are often used to send notifications or updates about a specific event, such as when a new user is added to a database, or when a new message is posted on a social media platform.

Main differences between webhooks and APIs

Here is a summary of the main differences between webhooks and APIs:

WebhooksAPIs
Triggered by an eventAs requested by the client
Proactively send data or notificationsThe client receives data or functionality in response to a request
Used for real-time notificationsUsed for querying and manipulating data
Server initiates communicationClient initiates communication
differences between webhooks and APIs

Webhooks and APIs are both ways for applications to communicate with each other, but they differ in how the communication is initiated and the type of information that is exchanged. Webhooks are used for real-time notifications, while APIs are used for requesting specific data or functionality from a server.

Detailed differences between APIs and Webhooks

Webhooks

Webhooks are triggered by an event, such as the creation of a new user or the posting of a new message. When the event occurs, the server sends an HTTP POST request to the URL specified in the webhook configuration, along with a JSON payload containing data related to the event. The receiving application can then process the data and take any necessary action.

To test webhook, you can use this webhook testing site https://webhook.site/.

APIs

APIs allow a client to request specific data or functionality from a server. The client initiates the communication by sending an HTTP request to the API endpoint, using a method such as GET, POST, PUT, or DELETE. The server then responds with the requested data or functionality, often in the form of a JSON or XML payload.

To test APIs, most developers are using Postman, For more details, you can check here How to Use Postman for API Call.

Conclusion

In general, webhooks are used for real-time notifications, while APIs are used for querying and manipulating data. Both can be useful for enabling communication between different applications and systems.

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