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Difference between ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web API – Exposing Functionality of Web Application Dec 11, 2015

Difference between ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web API – Exposing Functionality of Web Application

Talking About Difference between ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web API – Exposing Functionality of Web Application , ASP.NET MVC or Model View Controller is a three tier architectural design or framework for web application development using ASP.NET technology. In MVC framework, models are the components responsible for information retrieval and storage in database, while view displays the information and controllers are used for managing and responding to user inputs.

Talking about ASP.NET Web API, this is a framework used for developing HTTP services to provide response to the client requests. Web API is an open-source technology that is used to develop web services for applications such that they can reach broader range of clients with HTTP protocols.

Now let us compare the two technologies with regards to exposing functionality of web applications.

While it is possible to expose functionality of web application through Web API, it can also be done through MVC by using the action methods. However, in order to decide between these two technologies to use for functionality exposing, there are a few main things to consider and they are as follows.

Exposing Functionality or Creating Full-Fledged REST Service:

Talking About Difference between ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web API – Exposing Functionality of Web Application , When it comes to exposing functionality of a web application, there could be two considerations – one is exposing the functionality within the web application and the second is to expose it as a generic functionality that is independent of any specific application. Relying on MVC is a good option if exposing functionality within the application is your requirement because MVC controllers are tightly tied to a particular application. On the other hand with Web API, it would require to create a whole new API and hence, the process will get more complicated and time-consuming.

Considering the second case, it’s better to create full-fledged REST service for the purpose using Web API because the REST service is not limited to just a single applications and can be used by several applications for their tasks. So, if your application functionality is data oriented then Web API offers an elegant solution, while MVC is good for developing the web application that replies as both data and views.

Formats to Deal With

MVC returns data in typical JSON format using JSONResult. Hence, one can use action methods to expose functionality of an application here. But, Web API returns various kinds of data including the JSON, XML or any other data format based on accept header. With MVC you are required to specify the data format explicitly while it is done automatically in Web API.

Hosting

Talking About Difference between ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web API – Exposing Functionality of Web Application , Hosting is an important consideration during .NET development. As MVC controller is part of an ASP.NET MVC application, it depends on IIS environment for application hosting while on other hands, Web API is a service based framework which can allow the developer to host his application in a custom host other than IIS. Hence, with Web API you can host your applications in light weight host server as per your needs and save overheads usually witnessed in IIS hosted .NET application. Web API is, therefore, reliable technology for developing web, console and desktop applications.

Hence, by considering the above points during .NET development, one can easily select between Web API and MVC technologies to expose the functionality of a web application.

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