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What is REST? For what SOAP stands? Why these were formulated and what are their specific features? What are the things that makes them different? If such questions also troubles you while working on APIs Development strategy in your next project, the following write-up will help you clear your doubts.
Now it’s easy to compare both protocols and make a choice for yourself in terms of REST or SOAP on the next API implementation.
Let’s first get into REST
REST or Representational State Transfer came into light in 2000. Invented by Roy Thomas Fielding, he developed REST in an academic environment based on the philosophy of the open web. Rest makes data available as resources, e.g. user, payments.
Let’s get into SOAP
SOAP originally stood for ‘Simple Object Access Protocol’ and was created in 1998 by a group of individuals collaborating with Microsoft. The use of SOAP by web services conforms to a set of characteristics which make communication between distributed objects possible. SOAP makes data available as services, E.g: getPayments, getBook, getUserInformation, etc.
Use-cases Where REST is Better than SOAP
With SOAP, it is possible to remotely access and manipulate objects, bust REST is designed to focus on the operations that can be executed on resources. Due to this variation, public API practitioners have adopted REST actively. As REST inherits operations from HTTP, it’s the most obvious choice when deciding how to open a Web API Development. This thing has influenced all major web companies to use and encourage usage of RESTful APIs.
In certain cases like when you do not need to fully map a set of objects to the client, REST is better in every means than SOAP. Communicating object information back and forth can consume a lot of bandwidth, that is possible to limit in environments where connectivity is expensive. API consumed mostly by mobile applications is one of the use-cases where you should avoid SOAP at all costs.
REST APIs work better in open nature of current Web as it is less restrictive than SOAP. Developers are not worried as much about contracts as they are about an API’s ease-of-use. Since businesses need to adopt change rapidly, thus public APIs change all the time. In this reality of startups and APIs without specific contractual agreements, REST is a natural choice. Using SOAP in this environment would be counter-productive, as it could introduce unnecessary contractual complexity.
Therefore, we can conclude, use REST when need to focus on wide scale API or your API is integrated with mobile apps. Whereas SOAP is best to incorporate when handling transaction operations.
Are you using SOAP or REST? In what way? Leave your comments below to discuss more.
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