What’s the difference between the API plugin and API workflow?

Hello all!

I was just wondering what the differences between the API plug-in and the API workflow feature which you need a subscription for. My guess is the API workflow feature works on the server and the plug-in does not. Because of this the API workflow will be better for not tying up the speed of the app?

I guess my question is what general reasons what I need to use one over the other? This might be a very big question or a question that’s very dependent on a lot of different variables but if anyone could shed some light that would be great!

It‘s actually pretty simple, you use the plugin to make api calls and the workflows to receive api calls.

So dependent on what you try to achieve, it should be clear which one to use.

Yes the api workflow runs on the server. The plugin runs on the client or the server, dependent in which workflow you are using it.

Thanks for the quick reply Reger-Alexander.

Just to clarify: are you saying that I cannot make API calls on the API workflow function? I thought that you can make Get,Put,Patch,etc calls from the API workflow as well if it’s configured as such?

Also by “receive” API calls are you saying using my bubble app as a source from which other applications are sending API calls to me and my Bubble app is “receiving” API calls and sending out data? Or are you saying that by “receiving” API calls that my bubble app is sending out calls to another application and only can send out calls that retrieves data?

Thanks so much for your answer!

The API Connector and Plugin Editor’s API tab allow you to setup access to third-party APIs.
See these links for more details: Introduction - Bubble Docs and https://manual.bubble.is/building-plugins/adding-api-connections.html

Once those are setup you can use them as Data or Action types in your Bubble app.

API Workflows in Bubble are server-side workflows. They do not require User interaction and allow the User to continue using your app without seeing a loading bar on the screen – basically the process has been handed off to the server for processing. They are not the same as setting up a third-party API in the API Connector or Plugin Editor. More details here: Introduction - Bubble Docs

API workflows (this could really be renamed “Server-side workflows”) may, or may not, use an API you setup in the API connecter or Plugin editor.

Here is a simple API workflow that does not use a third-party API. It is only used to create a record in the background, which doesn’t affect the User while they are browsing the site, since all processing happens on the server.

Here is another example that shows an API workflow using a third-party API that I setup in the Plugin Editor.


Thank you for all your help! I’ll be sure to look at this and thoroughly dig through. Just trying to wrap my head around all of it.

Hey @m.hodges.business, @Kfawcett gave you a great answer here outlining the differences. If you’re interested in digging deeper into Bubble’s API capabilities, I have video series of API-related lessons. They cover all the different ways your app can work with APIs: making calls, receiving calls, webhooks, social login, how to use the API Connector, etc.

You can learn more here: https://coachingnocodeapps.com/api-video-bundle

I think Bubble’s ability to work with APIs is one of its most powerful features, so you’re asking the right questions!

Gaby at Coaching No Code Apps

Courses & Products, Tutorials, Private Coaching, and High-level Development

Start Learning Today :mortar_board:


@romanmg GREAT! Thank you @Kfawcett ! Everyone is super helpful on this form its very encouraging.

Also, I recently purchased your API video Bundle @romanmg and am going through it. IT IS AMAZING! SUPER HELPFUL! PlEASE KEEP MAKING SUCH CONTENT.

I guess a further question as I’m wading through all of this is this: is it possible to make an API Connector run through a API Workflow so that it doesn’t run on the server? I’m going to test that soon after some more reading but I thought I’d ask since I’m reading that server-side workflows slow down the app’s capacity and stop the user from being able to perform further actions till the app is done.

Thanks for all the help to everyone!