The Difference Between REST and SOAP APIs

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The Difference Between REST and SOAP APIs

This overview will help you understand the differences between REST and SOAP APIs, and how they are used in integrations.

· Integration Zone ·
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The words "web services" mean many things to people with different fields. For general users, it is about using online services, like surfing the internet, but for developers and webmasters, it has different meanings. Overall it is a broad term that tells us how the communication between two different set of devices or applications held over the World Wide Web (WWW).

This communication system can be categorized into two types, namely Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP, and Representational State Transfer or REST.

Quite often both are considered to be the terms with same meanings but the how both works and what tools both use for communication purposes creates the fine line between two. Before highlighting the differences between two, it merits to discuss what both actually are.

What Is a REST API?

REST is basically an architectural style of the web services that work as a channel of communication between different computers or systems on the internet. The term REST API is something else.

Those application programming interfaces that are backed by the architectural style of REST architectural system are called REST APIs. REST API compliant web services, database systems, and computer systems permit requesting systems to get robust access and redefine representations of web based resources by deploying a predefined set of stateless protocols and standard operations.

By these protocols and operations and redeploying the manageable and updatable components without causing the effect on the system, REST API systems deliver fast performance, reliability, and more progression.

What Is a SOAP API?

SOAP is a standard communication protocol system that permits processes using different operating systems like Linux and Windows to communicate via HTTP and its XML. SOAP based APIs are designed to create, recover, update and delete records like accounts, passwords, leads, and custom objects.

These offers over twenty different kinds of calls that make it easy for the API developers to maintain their accounts, perform accurate searches and much more. These can then be used with all those languages that support web services.

SOAP APIs take the advantages of making web based protocols such as HTTP and its XML that are already operating the all operating systems that are why its developers can easily manipulate web services and get responses without caring about language and platforms at all.


  • REST API has no has no official standard at all because it is an architectural style. SOAP API, on the other hand, has an official standard because it is a protocol.
  • REST APIs uses multiple standards like HTTP, JSON, URL, and XML while SOAP APIs is largely based on HTTP and XML.
  • As REST API deploys multiple standards, so it takes fewer resources and bandwidth as compared to SOAP that uses XML for the creation of Payload and results in the large sized file.
  • The ways both APIs exposes the business logics are also different. REST API takes advantage of URL exposure like @path("/WeatherService") while SOAP API use of services interfaces like @WebService.
  • SOAP API defines too many standards, and its implementer implements the things in a standard way only. In the case of miscommunication from service, the result will be the error. REST API, on the other hand, don't make emphasis on too many standards and results in corrupt API in the end.
  • REST API uses Web Application Description Language, and SOAP API used Web Services Description language for describing the functionalities being offered by web services.
  • REST APIs are more convenient with JavaScript and can be implemented easily as well. SOAP APIs are also convenient with JavaScript but don't support for greater implementation.

This post was written by Arsalan Rashid, a technology enthusiast and researcher working with the CitrusBits, a Mobile App Development Company LA & San Francisco.

api, integration, rest api, soap api

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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