What is the difference between REST and SOAP APIs?

Fri Oct 08 2021

2 min read

There are different services available for communication between client and server. Two of them are widely used, i.e., REST and SOAP APIs. Both services have a client that requests data and a server that responds.

Before we go into the differences between these two services, let’s understand what they are first.

What is the REST API?

REST API is one of the most common types of API. REST APIs allow you to perform CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) operations between a client and a server. It connects your backend with your frontend so they can communicate with each other.

What is the SOAP API?

SOAP API is another kind of web service that allows communication between client and server. Any web service that complies with the SOAP web services specification is a SOAP web service. The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is behind these specifications.

Differences Between REST and SOAP API

There are several differences between REST and SOAP APIs because the entire architecture is different.

Here are how SOAP API is different from the REST API:

  • Language, platform, and transport-independent. On the contrary, the REST API requires the use of HTTP.
  • Works well in distributed enterprise environments, whereas REST assumes direct point-to-point communication.
  • The SOAP API is more standardized.
  • SOAP API provides significant pre-build extensibility in the form of the WS* standards.
  • There is built-in error handling in the SOAP API.

Now here are how REST API is different from the SOAP API:

  • It has a smaller learning curve as compared to the SOAP API.
  • It is more efficient. SOAP uses XML for all messages, whereas REST primarily uses smaller message formats like JSON.
  • REST API is faster than SOAP API because it does not require extensive processing.
  • REST API uses easy-to-understand standards like swagger and OpenAPI Specification 3.0.
  • It is much closer to other web technologies in design philosophy than SOAP.