development
dot
December, 2021
By Irine Gamkrelidze

SOAP or REST: Which API is Best suited for my project

SOAP or REST: Which API is Best suited for my project

Application programming interface, or API, as it is widely known, was invented somewhere around the late ’90s by Salesforce. This company was the first to revolutionize the digital sphere with SaaS (Software as a service). After this invention, the world saw many API’s come and go, but the two most often compared and discussed are SOAP and REST. Let’s discuss what benefits differentiate these two from each other and how to choose the right one if you’re working on an outsourced development project. 

Even though soap and rest sound like a bedtime routine, these are actually some of the most popular APIs on the world wide web. So, let us turn these acronyms into words:

SOAP - Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) first appeared in 2007 and basically is defined as a message specification for exchanging information between systems and applications.

REST - It’s a simple as it sounds; it’s called RESTful, as in actually letting the API do all the work while you...rest! It’s defined as an architectural style for an application program interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to access and use data. That data can be used to get, put, post, and delete data types, which refers to the reading, updating, creating, and deleting operations concerning resources.

Okay, now that we’ve got the introductions out of the way, we can begin comparing the two!

SOAP Benefits

One of the most significant benefits of SOAP is the built-in retry system; with it, you can avoid a failed communication and, unlike REST, neither the client-side and the server-side will have to be stuck in a constant retrying cycle.

Aside from being one of the most popular go-to application programming interfaces, SOAP offers lots of benefits: security. Aside from the SSL, which both SOAP and REST provides us, it additionally has safety measures for data integrity and privacy. In addition, identity verification options offered with SOAP come in handy, especially when you’re dealing with sensitive information. 

Less complexity, in comparison to REST, is another enormous benefit we can recall. We use SOAP’s complex security and functions with far fewer coding needs when working on outsourced software or web development projects. in conclusion, designing the services, which are in itself high-functioning and complex, requires less hassle than REST.

REST Benefits

While we’ve shared the glory of SOAP, we have to admit one of its gargantuan inconveniences - the format. Unlike REST, the Simple object access protocol offers only XML format of data, so this is a big win for the Restful API. 

REST protocols are used all over the world, by giant companies, like Amazon and Google. This alone has to be mentioned in the list of benefits for REST because these two companies never use an inferior service. The reason might be the superior performance, which is lacking in SOAP API. 

If real estate revolves around location, the website additions revolve around integration, integration, integration. Unlike SOAP, when this API is integrated into the website, the developer is not forced to change the code structure to accommodate it. It’s a two-button click away from being active, while SOAP can cause a developer to write a whole new website code from the beginning (In the worst cases we’ve had). Of course, when you’re a developer handling an outsourced development project, sometimes you don’t have the liberty of rewriting the code, so that is when most people go for REST instead of SOAP.

Nevertheless, SOAP still remains the preferred API over REST, but the usage difference isn’t big enough to name either one the leader. It all depends on what you’re looking for when choosing between these two. The general consensus is that you should go for REST API if you have a specific reason not to. We leave that decision up to you, considering the advantages and disadvantages listed above.  


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