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Difference between Web API, WCF and Web Service

So now we have got the basic idea about Web API, now let’s do some comparison of Web API with WCF and web services.

Web Service
WCF
Web API
Web services created as file with .asmx extension.
WCF create with .svc extension
Web API are simple class file with .cs(for C#) extension. Web API is inherited from “ApiController” and class name must end with “Controller”.
It is SOAP based service and return data in XML form.
It is also based on SOAP and return data in XML form.
Web API is HTTP based service and by default it return data in JSON or XML form.
It supports only HTTP protocol.
It supports various protocols like TCP, HTTP, HTTPS, Named Pipes, and MSMQ.
It supports HTTP protocol.
It can be hosted only on IIS.
It can be hosted with in the application or on IIS or using window service.
It can be hosted with in the application or on IIS.
It is not open source but can be consumed by any client that understands xml.
It is not open source but can be consumed by any client that understands xml.
It is open source and can be consumed by any client that understands JSON or XML.
It requires SOAP protocol to receive and send data over the network, so it is not a  light weight architecture
WCF supports various protocols and different type of binding due to which it is known as heavy weight architecture.
It is light weight architecture and good for devices which have limited bandwidth like mobiles.
It can’t be used to create REST-ful services
We can create REST-ful services with WCF by enabling webHttpBindings, but service configuration is difficult.
Web API is an ideal platform for building REST-ful services, and it service configuration is very easy compare to WCF service.
It support data transfer in XML format.
It support XML, JSON and ATOM data format.
It support XML and JSON data format. Responses can be formatted by Web API’s MediaTypeFormatter into JSON, XML or whatever format you want.
It doesn’t support MVC features
It doesn’t support MVC features
It also supports the MVC features such as routing, controllers, action results, filter, model binders, IOC container or dependency injection, unit testing that makes it more simple and robust.

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