Web application vs web api project types in asp net core


When developing web applications or APIs using ASP.NET, developers often come across the of whether to choose a web application project or a web API project type. Both project types have own advantages and use cases, and it's important to understand the differences between them in order to make an informed decision.

Web Application Project

A web application project in ASP.NET is typically used for building traditional web applications that serve HTML pages to clients. It follows the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern, where the application logic is divided into models, , and controllers.

Here's an of a web application project in ASP.NET:

namespace MyApp
    public class HomeController : Controller
        public IActionResult Index()
            return View();

In this example, the HomeController class inherits from the Controller base class, which provides various methods for handling HTTP requests. The Index returns a View, which is responsible for rendering the HTML page to the .

Web API Project

A web API project in ASP.NET is used for building APIs that expose data and functionality to clients. It follows the Representational State Transfer (REST) architectural style, where resources are identified by URLs and can be manipulated using HTTP methods.

Here's an example of a web API project in ASP.NET:

namespace MyApi
    public class UsersController : ControllerBase
        public IActionResult Get()
            // Retrieve and return users

        public IActionResult Post(User user)
            // Create a new user

In this example, the UsersController class is decorated with the ApiController attribute, which enables various API-specific features. The [Route(“api/[controller]”)] attribute specifies the base URL for all actions in the controller. The Get and Post methods handle HTTP GET and POST requests, respectively.

Choosing the Project Type

When deciding between a web application project and a web API project type in ASP.NET, consider the following factors:

1. Use Case: If you're building a traditional web application that serves HTML pages, a web application project is the appropriate choice. On the other hand, if you're building an API that exposes data and functionality to clients, a web API project is the way to go.

2. Architecture: Web application projects follow the MVC architectural pattern, which is suitable for user interfaces and server-side rendering. Web API projects follow the REST architectural style, which is ideal for building lightweight and scalable APIs.

3. Client Requirements: Consider the requirements of the clients that will consume your application or API. If they need to with a user interface and navigate between different pages, a web application project is a better fit. If they only need to consume data and perform CRUD operations, a web API project is more suitable.


Choosing between a web application project and a web API project type in ASP.NET depends on the specific requirements of your application or API. By understanding the differences between the two project types and considering factors such as use case, architecture, and client requirements, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

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