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REST API vs. SOAP

Educative Answers Team

What are REST and SOAP?

REST and SOAP are both web-communication protocols. Only the front-end of applications is stored on the user’s device, while the related data resides on remote servers. REST and SOAP handle how to fetch that data.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a standardized protocol with pre-defined rules.

REST (Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style with loose guidelines, and either one can be used to develop data-retrieval APIs for a system.


How are they different functionally?

SOAP has been a really popular messaging protocol for a long time. It comes with strict rules which make features such as the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties and authorization possible. However, SOAP generally requires a lot of bandwidth and resources, which results in slower operations.

REST was developed to address these problems, and in turn has a more flexible architecture and loose guidelines. As a result, it’s lightweight and better performing.

This has made REST incredibly popular in today’s age, where even a few seconds make a huge difference.

svg viewer
SOAP REST
Approach Data available as services: getValue Data available as resources: “value”
Performance Requires more bandwidth and compute power Uses fewer resources
Message Format Only XML XML, HTML, JSON etc.
Transfer Protocols SMTP, HTTP, UDP, etc. HTTP only

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rest
soap
protocol
acid
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