Difference Between SOAP and REST Web API Services

Difference Between SOAP and REST Web API Services

The two different approaches SOAP and REST are used for transmitting online data. Both of them can define building APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow data to communicate between different web apps. One of the major differences between both of them is SOAP is a protocol whereas REST is not. If you are also struggling to pick any one of them you are at the right place. Read the complete article to understand SOAP and REST differences. The section below also mentions the instances where SOAP can be picked and REST respectively.

What is SOAP?

The acronym SOAP is used for Simple Object Access Protocol. It was built with the purpose of ensuring the exchange of data between programs built by using different programming languages and on different platforms. This made the transfer of data easy across distinct programs. For its messaging services, the protocol relies solely on XML. This messaging employed by XML makes it’s working better on the Internet. The initial release of SOAP was made by Microsoft which later handed it to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force).

Advantages of SOAP:

  • It is independent of platform, transport, and language
  • Works great in enterprise environments that are distributed
  • In-built error handling capability
  • Automated results for a few language products
  • It is standardized

What is REST?

REST is the common acronym used for Representational State Transfer. The specific niche for designing REST was media components, objects, or files on specific devices. If a service is designed based upon the principles of REST it is referred to as RestFul. The API is light in weight and is an ideal pick for the latest technologies like IoT, serverless computing, and mobile app developments.

Advantages of REST:

  • No costly tools are required in order to interact with multiple web services.
  • The learning curve is comparatively smaller
  • More efficient
  • Faster
  • The design philosophy is closely related to other available web technologies.

Know about API development tools and process complete guide to API development.

When to use SOAP and REST Web Services?

The debate to pick SOAP or REST can be endless. However, there can be specific instances with their respective requirements. Below is a descriptive analysis of instances that can be specific to SOAP and to REST API technologies.

When can you use SOAP?

The SOAP technology of API can be used for the below-mentioned instances and requirements:

  • Formal Communication: If your client & server had an agreement to exchange their format SOAP offers specifications for this interaction type.
  • Operations are Stateful: For operations that require permission from one supplication to the next or step-by-step requests, SOAP API provides a structure for it.
  • Subsequent Invocation: Another special offering of security and guaranteed reliability standards is provided by a SOAP structure.

When can you use REST?

The services offered by REST can be used in the underlying instances:

  • Easy Coding: For a quick solution to web service problems use the REST API technology. The service offers easy and quick coding solutions.
  • Caching Data: If your purpose includes a lot of data cache requests REST can be an adequate solution. In case your client requires one resource multiple times this makes it simple. For the case when resource requirement already exists in the cache this will minimize the trips made to the respective web servers.
  • Restricted Bandwidth and Resources: If the bandwidth requirements are constrained, pick REST API as your alternative.
  • Statelessness: If the information is not required after moving from one request to the next REST can be used.

Also Read: Difference Between NodeJS and AngularJS

Difference Between SOAP and REST API:

Simple Object Access Protocol Representational State Transfer
It is a Protocol. It is an architectural style.
Cannot use REST as it’s a protocol. REST can easily use SOAP as it uses other protocols such as HTTP, etc.
It can use several service interfaces in order to expose the logic of business. To expose business logic it uses URI.
The Java API for the web services of SOAP is JAX-WS. Whereas for RESTful services Java API used is JAX-RS.
The standards defined by SOAP must be followed thoroughly. Not much of standards are defined by REST.
More bandwidth & resources are required by REST. It requires comparatively lesser resources and Bandwidth.
Security is defined by the SOAP itself. The transports present under are used to inherit the security & safety measures.
Only XML data dormant is permitted by SOAP. Multiple formats such as XML, HTML, etc can be permitted by REST.
Less Preferred Preferred more when compared to SOAP.

Closing Lines on SOAP vs REST:

Hopefully, the above guide on SOAP vs REST API technologies helped you pick your choice. However, the answer varies from customer to customer and their requirements. One thing to be kept in mind is to test the APIs well enough. Check its performance, functionality, and security constraints. If you have any more questions leave them in the comments below. Also, if you have any suggestions or feedback for us we would highly appreciate it. For more informative tech-related guides, tips and tricks subscribe to our blog.

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