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Difference Between REST API & Scripted REST API?

ServiceNow inbound web services provide many ways to access and modify ServiceNow data using a client application. In many ways, REST APIs and Scripted REST APIs are quite popular. The REST API and Scripted REST API in ServiceNow serve similar purposes but have distinct features, methods of implementation, and use cases.

Below is a table summarizing some of the key differences between the two:

AspectREST API (OOTB)Scripted REST API
DefinitionOut-of-the-box API provided by ServiceNow to interact with the platform.Custom REST APIs that are built using ServiceNow scripts.
CustomizabilityLimited, as it comes with predefined endpoints for core ServiceNow tables.Highly customizable, allowing developers to define their own REST endpoints.
ComplexitySimpler to use for standard operations (CRUD on standard tables, etc.).More complex but flexible, designed to handle specific, custom requirements.
ConfigurationThere is usually no need for additional scripting or development.Requires scripting in JavaScript to define API behavior.
Use-CaseBest for common, standard operations like CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) on ServiceNow tables.Best for complex or specialized operations that can’t be achieved via standard APIs.
Version ControlPlatform upgrades include handling version updates, which are under the control of ServiceNow.The developer is responsible for manually managing versioning.
Endpoint URLStandardized URL format typically using a table API (e.g., /api/now/table/{tableName}).A customizable URL endpoint can be defined (e.g., /api/x_custom/my_endpoint).
Method SupportStandard HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc.) are supported based on the table’s access controls.Can define specific HTTP methods (GET, POST, etc.) to be supported per endpoint.
Response FormatStandard JSON or XML format.Can customize the JSON or XML response format.
Access ControlRelies on ServiceNow’s existing access control rules.Additional access control can be scripted as part of the API.
Error HandlingStandard ServiceNow error messages.Custom error messages and handling can be implemented.
AuthenticationUses ServiceNow’s built-in authentication mechanisms.Can incorporate custom authentication logic, although it usually relies on built-in methods.

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It’s important to note that developers frequently start with the REST API for basic operations and may switch to the scripted REST API when they have more specific requirements that the out-of-the-box REST API can’t satisfy.

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