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SOAP or Rest APIs, which method to use?

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posted May 17 by Arun

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SOAP is the heavyweight choice for Web service access. It provides the following advantages when compared to REST:

SOAP is not very easy to implement and requires more bandwidth and resources.
SOAP message request is processed slower as compared to REST and it does not use web caching mechanism.
WS-Security: While SOAP supports SSL (just like REST) it also supports WS-Security which adds some enterprise security features.
WS-AtomicTransaction: Need ACID Transactions over a service, you’re going to need SOAP.
WS-ReliableMessaging: If your application needs Asynchronous processing and a guaranteed level of reliability and security. Rest doesn’t have a standard messaging system and expects clients to deal with communication failures by retrying.
If the security is a major concern and the resources are not limited then we should use SOAP web services. Like if we are creating a web service for payment gateways, financial and telecommunication related work, then we should go with SOAP as here high security is needed.

REST is easier to use for the most part and is more flexible. It has the following advantages when compared to SOAP:

Since REST uses standard HTTP, it is much simpler.
REST is easier to implement, requires less bandwidth and resources.
REST permits many different data formats whereas SOAP only permits XML.
REST allows better support for browser clients due to its support for JSON.
REST has better performance and scalability. REST reads can be cached, SOAP based reads cannot be cached.
If security is not a major concern and we have limited resources. Or we want to create an API that will be easily used by other developers publicly then we should go with REST.
If we need Stateless CRUD operations then go with REST.
REST is commonly used in social media, web chat, mobile services and Public APIs like Google Maps.
RESTful service returns various MediaTypes for the same resource, depending on the request header parameter “Accept” as application/xml or application/json for POST and /user/1234.json or GET /user/1234.xml for GET.
REST services are meant to be called by the client-side application and not the end user directly.
ST in REST comes from State Transfer. You transfer the state around instead of having the server store it, this makes REST services scalable.
  1. What are the factors that help to decide which style of Web services – SOAP or REST – to use?

Generally, REST is preferred due to its simplicity, performance, scalability, and support for multiple data formats.

However, SOAP is favorable to use where service requires an advanced level of security and transactional reliability.

But you can read the following facts before opting for any of the styles.

Does the service expose data or business logic? REST is commonly used for exposing data while SOAP for logic.
The requirement from clients or providers for a formal contract. SOAP can provide contract via WSDL.
Support multiple data formats.
Support for AJAX calls. REST can apply the XMLHttpRequest.
Synchronous and asynchronous calls. SOAP enables both synchronous/ asynchronous operations whereas REST has built-in support for synchronous.
Stateless or Stateful calls. REST is suited for stateless operations.
Security. SOAP provides a high level of security.
Transaction support. SOAP is good at transaction management.
Limited bandwidth. SOAP has a lot of overhead when sending/receiving packets since it’s XML based, requires a SOAP header. However, REST requires less bandwidth to send requests to the server. Its messages are mostly built using JSON.
Ease of use. REST based application is easy to implement, test, and maintain.
answer May 22 by Arunkumaarts
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