Difference Between SOAP and REST Web Service
Web services is a service which is offered by an electronic device to some other machine that is communicating with one another via the internet. In a way, it’s the only front-end interface of websites and applications that reside on user’s devices. The data is stored on a remotely-based server and sent to the client-side machine by making use of APIs to provide web services for their third-party users. The architectures used by the APIs are different in different cases.
SOAP was the go-to messaging protocol used by majorly all web services. However, the world is changing rapidly today, and therefore the developers need to create light-weighted web apps and mobile applications, and so came REST architecture. Today, most public web services use RESTful architecture, while enterprises even today still frequently choose to use SOAP.
SOAP vs REST both allow the creation of custom APIs. It makes it possible for data transfer within applications. An API receives a request and sends back the responses through internet protocols such as SMTP, HTTP, and others. Many websites provide APIs for users. For example, Google Maps have their own public API, and they let you customize it with the content you want.
Head To Head Comparison Between SOAP vs REST (Infographics)
Below is the top 13 difference between SOAP and REST web service
Key Difference Between SOAP and REST
Below are the key differences between SOAP vs REST
SOAP is a standard protocol that sends messages using other protocols such as SMTP and HTTP. The official specifications for SOAP are developed and maintained by the W3C, whereas rest based web services is not a protocol per se but an architectural style. Nevertheless, it lays down a certain set of guidelines that you need to follow. For example, the use of HTTP status codes and stateless existence.
SOAP is an official protocol, and therefore it comes with stringent rules and advanced security features. One such feature is the ACID compliance and authorization. The higher complexity requires more bandwidth and resources, which ultimately leads to slower web page render. This issue was resolved using REST web services. The guidelines in the case of REST are loose, and it lets developers create and implement the recommendations they feel like in their own way. This allows different messaging formats such as JSON, HTML, XML, and plain text files, whereas SOAP only allows XML. REST has a more flexible architecture due to its lightweight feature.
SOAP allows the usage of XML files only, whereas REST web services support multiple file-formats, thereby providing more flexibility and comparatively faster parsing. SOAP is not able to handle support for browser clients efficiently, whereas, in the case of REST-based architecture, better support for browser clients is offered.
If you talk about security at an enterprise level, SOAP is the thing to go for. It supports WS- Security, which comes in handy. It also ensures that data privacy and integrity will not be compromised. The support for identity verification is provided by making use of intermediaries rather than just having a point to point.
The facility for built-in logic retry logic is provided in the case of SOAP services that are missing in REST services. REST, on the other hand, miss the built-in messaging system. If communication fails, the client has to retry and deal with it. The services and the consumer, i.e. both parties, need to understand the context and content as there is no formal documentation available.
The standard HTTP based protocol makes it easier for SOAP-based web services to easily operate across firewalls and other proxies without needing any modifications to the protocol itself. Due to its heavy nature, SOAP is always slower compared to any middleware such as ICE or COBRA. Some use cases, in general, require the use of greater reliability in terms of the transactions being made. This is more than what is being achieved with HTTP. For anything related to ACID properties, SOAP is the protocol to go for.
Designing SOAP applications are generally more complex when compared with the RESTful ones. However, for any web service that requires support for complex operations and asks for the context and content to be maintained, SOAP is the service that can be used to you. Designing it will include less coding in the application layer of transactions, trust, security, and other elements.
SOAP vs REST Web Service Comparison Table
Let us discuss the comparison between SOAP and REST are as follows:
|Basis of Comparison||SOAP||REST|
|Meaning||Simple Object Access Protocol||Representational State Transfer|
|Design||Standard protocol with predefined rules to follow||Architectural style with loose recommendations and guidelines|
|Statefulness||Stateless by default, but a SOAP API can be made stateful||Stateless in nature, no server-side sessions|
|Caching||API calls are not cached||API calls are cached|
|Security||WS-Security with SSL support. Provides an inbuilt ACID compliance||Supports SSL and HTTPS|
|Performance||Requires more power, resources, and bandwidth.||Requires fewer resources|
|Messaging format||Only XML||XML, JSON, plain text, YAML, HTML and others|
|Transfer protocols||SMTP, HTTP, UDP, and others||Only HTTP|
|Recommended for||Financial services, enterprise-level apps, payment gateways, high-security apps, telecommunication services.||Public APIs for web services, social networks, and mobile services.|
|Advantages||Standardization, security, extensibility||High Performance, Scalability, Flexibility and browser friendliness|
|Disadvantages||More complex, poor performance, less flexibility||Unsuitable for distributed environments, less security|
Both SOAP and REST web services are suitable in their own realms and domains. The best protocol is probably the one that makes the most sense to the organization, client types needed for support. If security and legacy parameters are your priority, then SOAP is your solution; if responsiveness and lightweight-ness are your ask, REST is a better solution. REST+JSON has been a leading market worldwide today, majorly as most web browsers can consume them easily and in a much efficient way. I hope now you will be in a state to implement the right web service in your organization. Stay tuned to our blogs for more articles like these.
This has been a guide to the top difference between SOAP and REST. Here we also discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison tables. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more.