shopify_app vs shopify_api

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I am new to shopify app development and I am trying to explore all the tools available. Currently, I was thinking about creating a ReactJS frontend + Rails API only Backend. I realized that by creating a Rails API only backend, shopify_app does not work fully.

I was wondering what I might be missing out by using the shopify_api library on a Rails API only site VS generating an app using shopify_app?