RESTful vs SOAP Web Service

Many people encounter this as a popular interview question. I’ve written the following piece for anyone looking for a little summary.

REST = REpresentational State Transfer

  • An architectural pattern
  • Most common security mechanism is Transport level security (TLS) and http basic/digest authentication
  • Stateless
  • Permits different data formats (JSON, XML)
  • Reads can be cached (HTTP GET)
  • Lower bandwidth usage (JSON)
  • Provides Transcations but not ACID compliant
  • API is defined using a wiki most of the time
  • Exposes resources


SOAP = Simple Object Access Protocol

  • A protocol
  • WS-Security WS-AtomicTransaction WS-ReliableMessaging
  • Easy to implement message level security/encryption
  • Ensures message delivery
  • Permits only XML
  • SOAP based reads can’t be cached (All POST requests)
  • Rest doesn’t have a standard messaging system and expects clients to deal with communication failures by retrying. SOAP has successful/retry logic built in and provides end-to-end reliability even through SOAP intermediaries.
  • Provides ACID compliant Transactions
  • API is self-explanatory
  • Exposes methods


Interesting Reads:

REST Vs SOAP, The Difference Between Soap And Rest

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