REST (Representational State Transfer) is a way to design APIs that are based on the principles of the World Wide Web. REST APIs use the HTTP protocol for communication and are designed to be simple, stable, and uniform. They use URLs that are passed out by the server and do not require clients to construct URLs from other information. REST APIs are characterised by their use of HTTP methods (such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE) to manipulate resources and by their use of HTTP status codes to indicate the success or failure of requests.
gRPC is another way to design APIs that uses HTTP/2 for communication. It is based on the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) model and uses code-generated stubs to make it easier for clients to use the API.
What are the advantages of gRPC over rest API?
Performance: gRPC uses a binary format for data serialization, which is more efficient than the text-based format used by REST. This makes gRPC faster and more suitable for use in high-performance environments.
Bi-directional streaming: gRPC allows for bi-directional streaming of data, which means that both the client and the server can send streams of data to each other. This is not possible with REST, which is only able to send data in one direction (from the client to the server).
Interoperability: gRPC supports multiple programming languages, so it is easier to create cross-language APIs. REST APIs are limited to the capabilities of the HTTP protocol, which may not be sufficient for certain use cases.
Simplicity: gRPC uses a simple HTTP/2 protocol and provides code-generated stubs to make it easier for clients to use the API. In contrast, REST APIs require clients to construct URLs and understand the format of the URLs in order to use the API.
Compactness: gRPC uses a compact binary encoding for data, which results in smaller payload sizes compared to REST. This is especially useful in situations where network bandwidth is limited.
What are the limitations of gRPC?
HTTP/2 support: gRPC relies on HTTP/2 for communication, which means that it requires support for HTTP/2 on both the client and the server. This may not be possible in environments where HTTP/2 is not supported.
Language support: gRPC has official support for a limited number of programming languages, although there are third-party libraries for other languages. This may make it difficult to use gRPC in environments where it is not supported natively.
Complexity: gRPC can be more complex to set up and use compared to REST APIs, especially for developers who are not familiar with the RPC model.
Compatibility: gRPC uses a binary format for data serialization, which may not be compatible with systems that expect text-based formats like JSON.
Caching: gRPC does not support caching of responses, which can be a disadvantage in situations where caching would be beneficial.
It is worth noting that these limitations may not be applicable in all situations and that gRPC may still be the best choice for certain use cases despite these limitations.
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