ASP.NET WEB API is a framework for building HTTP services that can be consume by a broad range of clients including browsers, mobiles, iphone and tablets. It is very similar to ASP.NET MVC since it contains the MVC features such as routing, controllers, action results, filter, model binders, IOC container or dependency injection. But it is not a part of the MVC Framework.
It is a part of the core ASP.NET platform and can be used with MVC and other types of Web applications like ASP.NET WebForms. It can also be used as a stand-alone Web services application.
It supports convention-based CRUD Actions since it works with HTTP verbs GET,POST,PUT and DELETE.
Responses have an Accept header and HTTP status code.
Responses are formatted by Web API’s MediaTypeFormatter into JSON, XML or whatever format you want to add as a MediaTypeFormatter.
It may accepts and generates the content which may not be object oriented like images, PDF files etc.
It has automatic support for OData. Hence by placing the new [Queryable] attribute on a controller method that returns IQueryable, clients can use the method for OData query composition.
It can be hosted with in the applicaion or on IIS.
It also supports the MVC features such as routing, controllers, action results, filter, model binders, IOC container or dependency injection that makes it more simple and robust.
If we need a Web Service and don’t need SOAP, then ASP.Net Web API is best choice.
It is Used to build simple, non-SOAP-based HTTP Services on top of existing WCF message pipeline.
It doesn't have tedious and extensive configuration like WCF REST service.
Simple service creation with Web API. With WCF REST Services, service creation is difficult.
It is only based on HTTP and easy to define, expose and consume in a REST-ful way.
It is light weight architecture and good for devices which have limited bandwidth like smart phones.
It is open source.
I hope you have enjoyed the article and would able to have a clear picture about Web API. I would like to have feedback from my blog readers. Your valuable feedback, question, or comments about this article are always welcome.