Webhooks and API comparison

Hello People. This article discusses Webhooks and API comparison. As you are familiar with, an API (Application Programming Interface) enables two-way communication between software applications driven by requests. Whereas a webhook is a lightweight API that powers one-way data sharing triggered by events. Together, API and webhooks enable applications to share data and functionality. Both APIs and webhooks allow different software systems to sync up and share information.

How does an API work?

An API is like a portal through which information and functionality can be shared between two software services. As you already know that a web browser is an interface for a human end user to receive, send, and update information on a web server, an API is an interface that provides software programs with the same functionality. 

There are different types and categories of APIs. APIs are the most common way for different software systems to connect and share information.

Webhooks and API Comparison

How does a webhook work?

A webhook can be understood as a type of API that is driven by events rather than requests. Instead of one application making a request to another to receive a response, a webhook is a service that allows one program to send data to another as soon as a particular event takes place. Webhooks are often referred to as “reverse APIs,” because communication is initiated by the application sending the data rather than the one receiving it. With web services becoming increasingly interconnected, webhooks are being frequently used as a lightweight solution for enabling real-time notifications and data updates without the need to develop a full-scale API.

Let us say for example you want to receive Slack notifications when tweets that mention a certain account and contain a specific hashtag are published. Instead of Slack continuously asking Twitter for new posts meeting these criteria, it becomes much more easier for Twitter to send a notification to Slack only when this event takes place. This is the purpose of a webhook. Instead of having to repeatedly request the data, the receiving application can get what it needs without having to send repeated requests to another system.

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