When discussing Application Programming Interface (API) architectures, it is very common to compare REST VS SOAP. Both common paradigms, rest and soap are most commonly compared as similar fruits but in reality, are entirely different technologies and they cannot be compared on a low level.
The main difference between REST and SOAP is that SOAP is protocol-based and REST is architectural style based. The REST API can use the SOAP protocol just as it uses the HTTP protocol. In a nutshell, they are boxed differently. Their functioning is very different and is also used in different scenarios.
Given that we now know the primary difference we can take a closer look at what each one is and what it entails. We can also discuss the pros and cons of using REST over SOAP and it all depends on the requirement and the fit.
In this article let us look at:
The full form of REST is Representational State Transfer which was another standard made in response to the shortcomings of SOAP. It is a “web services” API based on URI’s ( Uniform Resource Identifier), HTTP protocol, and JSON data format that is compatible with all browsers. It also fixes problems with SOAP and provides a simpler method of accessing web services. One may choose to use REST owing to resource limitation, limited security necessities, browser client match, scalability, data scenario, and discoverability. A few key aspects of REST:
The full form of SOAP is the Simple Object Access Protocol and is a standard-based web services access protocol. Designed by Microsoft, it is not a simple application. It has its protocol and has complex defining standards in comparison to REST. The already existing built standards are more complex but could benefit organizations that need additional features of security, transactions, and ACID ( Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) compliance. Key aspects of SOAP include:
Let us now look at the key differences between REST API and SOAP API:
For a large part, the advantages of REST over SOAP tend to get developers to turn to REST architecture for web services unless they find SOAP as a better choice for enterprise applications that are backed up by more resources, need additional security, and has more requirements.
When should one use SOAP? It is best for anything that needs formal contracts. Two common use cases for SOAP are:
When do you use REST? While REST can produce enough results ( not as the same as SOAP) through work from a professional developer, there are situations for which REST is geared to.
The bottom line is if one has to answer the question of REST vs SOAP, the answer is “depends on the requirement”. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Selecting between REST v SOAP depends on the programming languages being used, environment, and most important your requirements. Choice of web services depends on the choice of protocol, budget, and maintenance costs. Thirdly irrespective of whether one chooses REST or SOAP, it is important to test the API.
SOAP and REST share similarities over the HTTP protocol. SOAP is more rigid in terms of a set of messaging patterns in comparison to REST. The rules in SOAP are very important as they can’t achieve any level of standardization without them. REST is more of an architectural style and does not require any processing as it is more flexible. Both REST and SOAP rely on well-set rules that need to be abided by the interest of exchanging information.
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