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What are the differences between REST and SOAP?


How should my company services be? Should they be based on REST or on SOAP? What are the differences?

Choosing between both options is still a challenge for some companies that are still not familiar with the advantages of each one. In this article we will briefly go over:

As you can see, this post can help you in your way to differentiate and decide which option is better for your business. Let’s go!

What is SOA?

Before of that, for a better understanding, it is important to emphasize that SOAP is not the same as SOA. We know that sometimes it can lead to confusion, because they are similar terms but with different meaning.

-SOA: The perfect architecture to adapt to business needs-

SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) is a type of software architecture, which is based on the integration of applications through services. About these services are built: compositions, BPM, proxies and even APIs. But … REST and SOAP are not also services? Yes, they are technologies that apparently offer the same functionality, but they do not do the same, although both REST and SOAP follow the same SOA architecture, so both follow the same “principles”.

-This post is so interesting: SOA Architecture, what are its benefits to my company’s IT?-

Once this is understood, it is time to know more about the differences between SOAP and REST, and also about their features.

REST Web Services

REST (Representational State Transfer) is a software architecture style aimed at distributed hypermedia systems such as the web. This term refers specifically to a collection of principles for the design of network architectures.

There are several projects that can benefit from a REST architecture. In particular, those for which the main idea is in the way server requests are made by the client, based on the relevant resource.

It is important for a REST architecture to comply with 6 principles.

  • Client – Server
  • Uniform Interface
  • Cacheable
  • Stateless
  • Layered
  • Code-on-demand

In order to delve deeper into these concepts, we can find more information here.

SOAP Web Services

Now that we know better what REST services are, it is time to present SOAP or Simple Object Access Protocol services.

SOAP is a protocol for the exchange of messages over computer networks, generally using HTTP. This protocol is based on XML, making it easier to read, even if messages are longer and therefore considerable slower to transfer. These could be some reasons to use SOAP, instead of what REST services offer.

We can find several types of message models in SOAP, but the most common is RPC, where the intersecting point of a message between the client and the server results immediately in a response of the message to the client.

Google, Facebook and bank companies are some of the major websites that currently use applications that implement web services.

Now is easier to understand what REST and SOAP services are, we can go deeper into the advantages of each of these concepts, and into how we can apply them to our company.


The main differences between soap and rest web services are:

REST advantages SOAP advantages
· Few operations with many resources · Many operations with few resources
· It focuses on scalability and large-scale performance for distributed hypermedia systems · It focuses on the design of distributed applications
· Self-describing XML · Strong typing, XML Schema
· Synchronous · Synchronous and Asynchronous
· End to end secure communication · Secure origin to destination communication

Even though SOAP has been the preferred option by many companies, for others it is too complex and not flexible enough. It is for this reason that they are starting to use services based on REST to display large quantities of mass data.

Both information architectures have their specific niches, however, it is apparently REST that will see a greater acceptance in the future.

SOAP vs. REST, who will win?