11 Important Rest Vs Soap API Differences

Rest Vs Soap API is a point of discussion whenever a web service has to be used in the IT world. Nowadays Rest services are becoming popular and there are reasons for it. let’s analyze what are the differences between SOAP and REST services and when it’s best to use them.

In case you know about soap and rest and have landed here to know the differences, here they are at a high level.

CheatSheet of Rest Vs Soap API Differences:

SOAP is a Protocol While REST is an architectural style
SOAP Simple Object Access Protocol. Rest: Representational State transfer.
SOAP is heavy and requires more network bandwidth than Rest
SOAP only uses XML while Rest has XML , JSON , Text, HTML
SOAP cannot wrap Rest while Rest can wrap SOAP
Rest supports HTTP methods GET, PUT, POST, DELETE, and PATCH. SOAP needs specific operation defined.
SOAP Services are identified with the corresponding WSDL. REST has its unique URI WADL for Rest Metadata

Now if the above sounds difficult in understanding , lets dive into basics.

What is a Service

Service is a short form of web service. Any thing which is available over web and can be access from a url and does some job is called a service. Note that API is also the same and api and services term are interchangeably used.

What is XML

XML is Extended markup language used to transport data over web. Refer this article for more details

What is JSON

Json is JavaScript Object Notation and the representation of data is in form of Key-Value pair. For more details refer to this article.

What is API

API Stands for Application Programming interface. Means an Interface or a URL from where you can talk to another application . It is same as WebServices which represents the end point of a process to be executed.

What is SOAP

SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol and it was designed in early days of web services integrations. It uses XML Data (Payload) to talk to other application /services. Since XML was the standard to talk on network it could be utilized by any program developed in any language. But since it was heavy and as payload became bigger and sources increased handling SOAP payloads became more complex . Rest came after SOAP to address the complexities of SOAP services.

What is Rest

Rest (Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style to represent data is a simpler form than SOAP and it can handle multiple formats like JSON, XML,TXL, HTML. With this method only what is required can be passed as payload to our integrations and services calls, thus making is much lighter than SOAP and improving the performance of web applications.

There are standard methods in Rest Services like GET, PUT , PATCH, POST, DELETE which are defined in the implementation of the rest services which helps is easy use of the services.

For example when you use SOAP for a function Get_Order_Details you will need to pass the order number (a Unique identifier) along will all the other elements in the Get_Order_Details methods as Null (Blank).

But for a similar GetOrderDetails in Rest you will just need to pass the OrderNumber as a simple query parameter or template parameter based on how the service has been implemented. Thus making the payload so much lighter compared to SOAP.

Now let’s see How implementation Differs

Implementation of Rest Vs Soap API

What it isProtocol
(simple object access protocol0
Architectural Style
(Representational State Transfer)
DesignWith Strict predefined named methods and protocolsA URI-based general guideline which fits in with generally all Rest services.
Payload Formatonly XMLJSON,XML, Text, HTML and Counting
Protocol(s) Supported HTTP, UDP, SMTP, and some others.Only HTTP
Plus PointsHigh security, standardized, extensibilityLight Weight, Scalabile, performance, flexibility.
Minus pointslow Performance, Gets complex, less flexible.Security can be an issue and Additional security layers may be required. , not recommended for distributed Network transfer.
CachingNot SupportedSupported
SecurityWS-Security with SSLHttps, SSL security.
UsageCannot wrap and call a Rest APIA Rest proxy can be written which internally can call SOAP Api
Service informationIs available in a WSDL file or url.can be made available as metadata in WADL format.
StatefulnessStateless and Stateful Stateless Only


In Summary, Rest is the API that is easy to use and lightweight but needs additional layers of security. SOAP is heavier than Rest and uses more resources. Based on the architectural design of your processes you can opt for REST over SOAP.

If working on oracle integrations check out Oracle Integration Cloud questions

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