SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and REST (Representational State Transfer) are two major pillar AIPs to solve the same problem how to access the web services, initially it seems to be very easy to choose, but at times it can be surprisingly difficult. Before you spend time in choosing over SOAP and REST that some web services support one while some others. Your decision would certainly depend on which Web service best meets your needs, rather than which protocol to use.
Let’s look at little closer at each— to see how they are different and would make you want to use one over the other for your application, if the shoe fits.
What is SOAP?
SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a standards-based Web services access protocol, and is a bit more complex by defining more standards than REST—things like security and how messages are sent. SOAP relies exclusive on XML to provide messaging services developed by Microsoft to keep an edge over older technologies that don’t perform well on internet such as Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). It is a communication protocol system that permits processing using different OS like Linux and Windows to communicate via HTTP and its XML, and usually to designed to create, recover, update and obliterate records like accounts & passwords.
The following are some of the many benefits that SOAP include:
Language neutrality : SOAP can be developed using any language.
Interoperability and Platform Independence : It is platform and language independent.
Simplicity : SOAP messages are in very simple XML format and provides simplified communications.
Scalability : It has the ability to leverage different transport protocols.
SOAP is highly extensible through other protocols and technologies and can be used in enterprise solutions with formal contract-based exchange formats. is highly extensible through other protocols and technologies.
SOAP API is suitable in following instances:
If any application/programmed needs to be maintained from one request to another then SOAP provides WS support to meet such requirement.
If client and server have an agreement on exchange format then SOAP provides specification on such interaction.
Asynchronous processing: if client is looking for reliability and security then SOAP provides additional features when it comes to security.
What is REST?
Rest (Representational State Transfer) is the architectural style of the web itself and is protocol independent. It uses HTTP protocols like GET, PUT, POST to link resources to actions within a client-server relationship. In addition to the client-server mandate, it has several other defining constraints. The principles of RESTful architecture serve to create a stable and reliable application, that offers simplicity and end-user satisfaction.
Advantage of Rest are as follows:
REST is all about simplicity, thanks to HTTP protocols.
REST APIs facilitate client-server communications and architectures. If it’s RESTful, it’s built on this client-server principle, with round trips between the two passing payloads of information.
REST APIs use a single uniform interface. This simplifies how applications interact with the API by requiring they all interface in the same way, through the same portal. This has advantages and disadvantages; check with your developer to see if this will affect implementation changes down the road.
REST is optimized for the web. Using JSON as its data format makes it compatible with browsers.
REST is Stateless for Performance, Simplicity, and Reliability
One of the key principles of REST is that it is stateless, which means everything is done with one call, i.e., one network round trip. Each call is an autonomous, independent operation. No state information is maintained across calls.
Client drivers may be run in a stateless, or single call, mode but are often run with sessions, which means that everything is typically done with many more calls and network round trips. This can have a big impact on performance.
The number of network round trips is the biggest single determinant of performance for most applications. Network rounds trips often eat up significantly more time than that taken by the actual database processing that is invoked. The total number of calls also commonly dwarfs the impact of the efficiency of the particular network protocol used to make each call, e.g., HTTP vs. a single JDBC driver call.
Soap vs Rest Comparison: Which is right for you?
|Function||Function-driven: transfer structured information||Data-driven: access a resource for data|
|Data Format||Only uses XML||Permits many data formats, including plain text, HTML, XML and JSON|
|Security||Supports WS-security and SSL||Supports SSl and HTTPS|
|Bandwidth||Requires more resource and bandwidth||Requires fewer resources and lightweight|
|Data Cache||Cannot be Cache||Can be Cache|
In conclusion, we would like to say that, as everywhere in custom software development, there is no universal solution in the choice of protocols for creating web API architecture. Each application is unique, and your decision should be based on what is best for your project. Moreover, you can combine API protocols to achieve the most optimal results.
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