Difference between SOAP and REST web services

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By Admin Oct 19, 2018

Difference between SOAP and REST web services: SOAP is an XML based messaging protocol whereas REST is an architectural style.

REST (Representational states transfer) is an architectural style for implementing systems on top of HTTP infrastructure.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a messaging protocol that allows programs that run on disparate operating systems (such as Windows and Linux) to communicate using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and its Extensible Markup Language (XML).

Web Services:

A web service is a collection of open protocols and standards used for exchanging data between applications or systems.

RESTful web services:

Web services based on REST Architecture are known as RESTful web services. These web services use HTTP methods to implement the concept of REST architecture.

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Difference between SOAP and REST web services:
1) REST is an architectural style SOAP is a protocol.
2) REST stands for Representational State Transfer SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol
3) REST can use SOAP web services because it is a concept and can use any protocol like HTTP, SOAP. SOAP can't use REST because it is a protocol.
4) REST uses URI to expose business logic. SOAP uses services interfaces to expose the business logic.
5) Faster than SOAP. Slower than REST.
6) REST does not define too much standards like SOAP. SOAP defines standards to be strictly followed.
7) REST requires less bandwidth and resource than SOAP. SOAP requires more bandwidth and resource than REST.
8) RESTful web services inherits security measures from the underlying transport. SOAP defines its own security.
9) REST permits different data format such as Plain text, HTML, XML, JSON etc. SOAP permits XML data format only.
10) REST more preferred than SOAP. SOAP is less preferred than REST.
11) REST has built-in error handling SOAP doesn't support error handling
  1. Twitter REST API
  2. Linkedin REST API
  1. PayPal SOAP API
  2. SalesForce SOAP API

Now, we want to list some disadvantage of  SOAP & REST

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SOAP Disadvantage:
  1. Complex in comparison to REST
  2. Big learning curve required.
  3. Difficult to debug a complex system.
  4. SOAP is slower.
REST Disadvantage:
  1. If the system is a very large one, then designing based on REST could become a very complex task.
  2. Implementing Security on a REST system is one major issues. Although HTTPS, and HTTP Authentication can be  used,  they only provide transport level security.
  3. There is no common standard accepted yet for the formal REST service description.
  4. REST requests (especially GET method) are not suitable for large amount of data.
  1. Use REST when you focus on wide scale API or your API is integrated with mobile apps.
  2. Use SOAP if you are handling transaction operations.