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What is ASP.NET Web API ? Why to Choose ASP.NET Web API ?

ASP.NET Web API is a framework that allows us to build HTTP services that reach a broad range of clients, including browsers, mobile devices, and tablets. For creating RESTFul applications, ASP.NET Web API is an ideal platform on the .NET Framework. As it contains ASP.NET MVC features such as routing, controller, action results, filter, model binding, thus it is very easy to create application for ASP.NET WEB API. Here, one thing we should keep in mind that Asp.Net Web API is not a part of ASP.NET MVC. ASP.NET Web API is a part of code ASP.NET platform and it can be used with ASP.NET MVC or any other types of application or it can be a standalone service application.

What are the Advantages of ASP.NET Web API:

If you want to create a great experience for the users of your website – regardless of whether you are building an ASP.NET MVC or an ASP.NET Web Forms site — then you need to use Ajax. ASP.NET web API allows us to create application that can be called via AJAX. In today’s world we want to have our application for mobile devices like android, ipad, windows. Also it is very important that our application should be cross browser. ASP.NET web api is a framework, that helps us to create a service which is compatible with any browser. Following image shows how ASP.NET Web API can help to achieve us.


ASP.NET Web API is the great framework, which allows exposing data and service to different-different devices. ASP.NET Web API is open source an ideal platform for building REST-ful services over the .NET Framework. If we choose WCF Rest service, than we need to define extra config settings for different devices, but ASP.NET Web API has full features of HTTP (like URIs, request/response headers, caching, versioning, various content formats).

Features of ASP.NET Web API:

  1. Asp.Net Web API supports various MVC features such as routing, controllers, action results, filter, model binders, IOC container or dependency injection that makes it more simple and robust and easy to develop.
  2. We can create Rest-ful API to get various formats of Responses, which are formatted by Web API’s MediaTypeFormatter into JSON, XML or whatever format you want to add as a MediaTypeFormatter.
  3. Asp.Net Web API supports convention-based CRUD Actions since it works with HTTP verbs GET, POST, PUT and DELETE.
  4. We can create Web API in such a way that can accepts and generates the content which may not be object oriented like images, PDF files etc.
  5. The Responses of ASP.NET Web API’s have an Accept header and HTTP status code.
  6. ASP.NET Web API can be hosted within the application or on IIS.
  7. ASP.NET Web API has automatic support for OData. Thus we can place the new [Queryable] attribute on a controller method that returns IQueryable, clients can use the method for OData query composition.
  8. ASP.NET Web API is not specifically geared towards browsers.

Why to Choose Asp.Net Web API:

  1. ASP.NET Web API can be a back end for native applications (built for a specific platform) running on mobile devices where SOAP is not supported because HTTP is a common factor in all the platforms. Also, native applications running on platforms other than Windows can use ASP.NET Web API as the back end.
  2. From the 1st point we can say that if our need a Web Service and don’t need SOAP, then ASP.Net Web API is best choice.
  3. ASP.NET Web API will be a good fit for rich-client web applications that heavily use AJAX to get to a business or data tier. The client application can be anything capable of understanding HTTP. It doesn't have tedious and extensive configuration like WCF REST service.
  4. ASP.NET Web API allows us to create service in a very easy manner. With WCF REST Services, service creation is difficult than ASP.NET Web API.
  5. ASP.NET Web API is only based on HTTP and easy to define, expose and consume in a REST-ful way
  6. ASP.NET Web API is a light weight architecture so it is easy to powered HTTP services can reach a broad range of clients including mobile devices.
  7. ASP.NET Web is open source. ASP.NET MVC source code was released under the Apache License 2.0.

Summary:- I hope you have enjoyed this article and now you are able to understand about ASP.NET Web API, and you can choose when to use this framework to develop the application. I will write more articles about ASP.NET Web API. If you have any questions or doubts in your mind, please make you comments.

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About the author

Anil Sharma is Chief Editor of He's a software professional and loves to work with Microsoft .Net. He's usually writes articles about .Net related technologies and here to shares his experiences, personal notes, Tutorials, Examples, Problems & Solutions, Code Snippets, Reference Manual and Resources with C#, Asp.Net, Linq , Ajax, MVC, Entity Framework, WCF, SQL Server, jQuery, Visual Studio and much more...!!!