SOAP vs REST, Basic and difference


Before we make the comparison between SOAP vs REST, we should know what they are. SOAP and REST are Web Services – Method of communication between two electronic devices over a network, in this scenario is World Wide Web. Web service is a software function provided at a network address over the web with the service always on as in the concept of Utility computing.

Web API is the very common terminology in web development. A Web API is a development in Web Services where emphasis has been moving to simpler REST (Representational state transfer) based communications. REST API do not require XML-based Web service protocol as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) or WSDL (Web Services Description Language).

Let’s SOAP vs REST

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), was created in 1998 by Dave Winer, Don Box, Bob Atkinson and Mohsen Al-Ghosein in collaboration with Microsoft. REST (Representational State Transfer) was Created in 2000 by Roy Thomas Fielding. Developed in an academic environment, this protocol embraces the philosophy of the open Web.
SOAP makes data available as services, E.g: getUserInformation, getPayments, getBook, setCustomer REST makes data available as resources, E.g: user, payments
  • SOAP follows a formal enterprise approach
  • Works on top of any communication protocol, even asynchronously
  • Information about objects is communicated to clients
  • Security and authorization are part of the protocol
  • Can be fully described using WSDL
  • REST uses HTTP Verbs such as: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE
  • Relatively easy to implement and maintain
  • Clearly separates client and server implementations
  • Communication isn’t controlled by a single entity
  • Information can be stored by the client to prevent multiple calls
  • Can return data in multiple formats (HTML, JSON, XML, Plain text, PDF etc)
  • Can be consumed by any client, even a web browser with Ajax and Javascript
  • SOAP consume a lot of bandwidth communicating metadata
  • Take much effort to implement and is not good for integrate between Web and mobile developers
  • Support only XML
  • REST works on top of the HTTP protocol
  • Less authorization and security
Used When
  • SOAP used when clients need to have access to objects available on servers
  • When you want a formal contract between client and server
  • When you need asynchronous processing and invocation
  • REST  used when clients and servers are both on a Web environment
  • When information about objects are independent to the client
Do not use when
  • Do not use SOAP when you want a API that easy to use
  • When your bandwidth is very limited
  • Do not use REST when you need a strict contract between client and server
  • When performing transactions that involve multiple calls
Commonly use for
  • SOAP used for Financial services
  • Payment gateways
  • Telecommunication services
  • REST used for Social Media services
  • Mobile Services
  • Social Networks
Real Examples


Use REST when you focus on wide scale API or your API is integrated with mobile apps.
Use SOAP if you are handling transaction operations.

After the comparison SOAP vs REST, we hope that you will have the right decision to choose between REST and SOAP in each situation by understand their both strengths and weekness.

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