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REST vs gRPC: What are the differences?

Introduction:

Key differences between REST and gRPC are outlined below:

  1. Communication Protocol: REST uses standard HTTP 1.1 protocol with textual data exchange, while gRPC uses HTTP/2 for binary data exchange, reducing latency and improving performance.

  2. Message Format: REST typically relies on formats like JSON or XML for message exchange, making it easily readable by humans, while gRPC uses Protocol Buffers, a binary serialization format, resulting in faster data transmission.

  3. Service Definition: In REST, service definition is more flexible and can be designed based on endpoint URLs, methods, and parameters, whereas gRPC utilizes Protocol Buffers to define service methods, messages, and interfaces in a .proto file.

  4. Code Generation: With gRPC, code generation tools are used to auto-generate client and server code in multiple languages from the .proto file, enabling developers to work with strongly-typed interfaces, while in REST, developers manually create and handle HTTP requests and responses.

  5. Error Handling: gRPC has built-in support for status codes and detailed error messages, which aids in handling errors effectively, whereas in REST, error handling mechanisms may vary based on how developers implement them in the API.

  6. Streaming Support: gRPC supports both unary and streaming requests, allowing for bidirectional streaming and server push, while REST typically handles interactions in a stateless manner, lacking native support for streaming.

In Summary, the key differences between REST and gRPC lie in communication protocol, message format, service definition, code generation, error handling, and streaming support.

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Pros of gRPC
Pros of REST
  • 24
    Higth performance
  • 15
    The future of API
  • 13
    Easy setup
  • 5
    Contract-based
  • 4
    Polyglot
  • 2
    Garbage
  • 4
    Popularity

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What is gRPC?

gRPC is a modern open source high performance RPC framework that can run in any environment. It can efficiently connect services in and across data centers with pluggable support for load balancing, tracing, health checking...

What is REST?

An architectural style for developing web services. A distributed system framework that uses Web protocols and technologies.

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    What are some alternatives to gRPC and REST?
    GraphQL
    GraphQL is a data query language and runtime designed and used at Facebook to request and deliver data to mobile and web apps since 2012.
    RabbitMQ
    RabbitMQ gives your applications a common platform to send and receive messages, and your messages a safe place to live until received.
    Kafka
    Kafka is a distributed, partitioned, replicated commit log service. It provides the functionality of a messaging system, but with a unique design.
    MQTT
    It was designed as an extremely lightweight publish/subscribe messaging transport. It is useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium.
    SignalR
    SignalR allows bi-directional communication between server and client. Servers can now push content to connected clients instantly as it becomes available. SignalR supports Web Sockets, and falls back to other compatible techniques for older browsers. SignalR includes APIs for connection management (for instance, connect and disconnect events), grouping connections, and authorization.
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