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Introduction to ASP.NET Web API Features and why should we use Web API?

HTTP is not just for serving up web pages. It is also a powerful platform for building APIs that expose services and data. HTTP is simple, flexible, and ubiquitous. Almost any platform that you can think of has an HTTP library.

The ASP.Net Web API shipped with ASP.Net MVC 4 and is a framework for building HTTP services. ASP.NET Web API is a framework for building web APIs on top of the .NET Framework. With the help of Web API we can create RESTful services which can be consumed by a broad range of clients including browsers and mobile devices.

Web API Features:

·         Web API is an HTTP Service.
·         It uses HTTP as an Application protocol, not a transport protocol.
·         Web API is an ideal platform for building pure HTTP based services where the request and response happens with HTTP protocol.
·         Web API can be hosted with in the application or on IIS and with Web API 2 you can host it on Cloud.
·         It is designed for broad range of clients including browsers and mobile devices.
·         Web API come with MVC4 and it supports the MVC features such as routing, controllers, action results, filter, IOC or dependency injection etc. that makes it more simple and robust.
·         With WebAPI content negotiation, we can return data based on the client requests, i.e. WebAPI framework deals with the request type and returns the data appropriately based on the media type.
·         The client can make a GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE request and get the WebAPI response appropriately.
·         Web API responses have an Accept header and HTTP status code.
·         By default WebAPI provides JSON based responses.
·         Web API uses MediaTypeFormatter to format the response into JSON, XML or whatever format you want to add as a MediaTypeFormatter.

Why should we use Web API?

Whenever there is a new technology to work on, first question will be why we should use it, though we can achieve same thing with existing technology and Web API is not an exception in this case.

Let’s find out why we should use Web API:

·         Web API is open source, and open source developer will surely love this.
·         Web API supports MVC features such as routing, filtering, controllers etc. and one can create Web API with basic knowledge of MVC and can use MVC features with Web API.
·         Web API service based on light weight architecture and it is good for devices which have limited bandwidth like mobiles.
·         If we want to create a web service that only run on HTTP protocol and don’t use any significant protocol to run, then Web API is best choice for you.
·         With the Web API we can build simple, HTTP based services on top of existing WCF message pipeline.
·         Like WCF service it doesn’t have annoying and extensive configuration.
·         With the help of Web API we can easily create RESTful services, though we can also create RESTful services with WCF, but service configuration is difficult.


  1. WCF is dead. its an awful architecture. with pretty much useless extra features

  2. WCF is dead. it has an awful architecture as well as useless extra features with no worthwhile real use cases for it. Too many esoteric configuration hacks


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