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What are the differences between REST and SOAP?


How should I implement services for my company? 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 strengths and weaknesses of each one. In this article we will briefly go over:

In this short post, we will try to help you make a more confident decision as to which option is better for your business. Let’s go!

What is SOA?

Well, firstly it is important to emphasise that SOAP is not the same as SOA. We know that sometimes it can lead to confusion, because they are similar terms but with quite different meanings.

-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. These services are: compositions, BPM, proxies and even APIs.

REST and SOAP are also a means of implementing services, and they are technologies which on the surface offer the same functionality, but they do behave in the same way.  REST and SOAP follow the same SOA architecture, so both follow the same “principles” with a different approach.

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

With this understood, it is time to know explore the differences between SOAP and REST, and learn 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 server requests are made by the client, based on a 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 dive deeper into these concepts, you can find more information here.

SOAP Web Services

Now that we know what REST services are, it is important to also understand 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 considerably slower to transfer. These could be some reasons to use SOAP, instead of REST.

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 the response of a message to the client.

Google, Facebook and many banking organisations 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 own situation.


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 a preferred option for many companies, for others it is sometimes too complex and not flexible enough. It is for this reason that many are starting to use services based on REST to manage large quantities of 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?

Contact us and we will tell you how we can help you.