SOAP and REST

This post covers features of SOAP and REST and basic differences between them.

SOAP

REST

  • SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol
  • It is an XML based web service
  • Adds a layer on top of the application protocols. HTTP is the widely used application protocol.
  • SOAP is considered heavy weight as it provides significant pre-build extensibility in the form of the WS* standards through additional layer.

1

  • Request includes HTTP header, SOAP Envelope (which includes SOAP Header, SOAP Body (which includes XML message))
  • As it has additional layer, it supports attaching files in the request which should be in base64 bit format.
  • It provides more security than REST.
  • REST stands for Representational State Transfer
  • REST typically supports all types of text data formats. Widely used formats are XML and JSON
  • Uses HTTP protocol only. No another layer on top of HTTP protocol.
  • REST is light weight as it leverages HTTP transport and uses all HTTP Action Verbs (POST, GET, PUT, DELETE)

2

 

  • Request includes just HTTP header and XML/JSON message.
  • It doesn’t support attachment of files in the request.
  • REST provides security like token based, but comparatively REST security is less than SOAP.

Sample SOAP Request:

A SOAP Message is encoded as an XML document, consisting of an <Envelope> element, which contains an optional <Header> element, and a mandatory <Body> element. The <Fault> element is sub element of Body is used for reporting errors.

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SOAP Envelope with SOAP Header.

3

Sample SOAP Response:

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Sample REST Request in XML:

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Sample REST Response in XML:

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Sample REST Request in JSON:

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Testing of SOAP/REST web service Requests can be done using SOAP UI tool.

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