REST vs SOAP APIs: which is the right one for your API development architecture? Conventional wisdom says REST thanks to its ubiquity, and for many of us, it’s the first type of HTTP communication we’ve heard about. In fact, for most companies, REST is the best infrastructure to adopt, thanks to a variety of reasons, such as its simplicity, ease of use, versatility, and speed. However, the important thing to note here is that one architectural style isn’t “better” than the other; it’s just different. This is the third article in a three-part series that explores the practical differences between REST vs SOAP APIs, when to use them, and how to use them with RPG-XML Suite. Find Part 1: REST APIs here, and Part 2: SOAP APIs here.
The realm of client-server communication is loaded with acronyms and terms to keep track of. To begin with, let’s elaborate upon several key terms, and what they mean.
While they are both useful for different reasons, when comparing REST vs SOAP, most businesses prefer to utilize REST-oriented architecture for HTTP communication with APIs. This is thanks especially to REST’s lightweight and flexible format, enabling programmers more agility in developing new API infrastructure. With that in mind, SOAP’s rigidly-defined standard helps alleviate its security risks.
|1||JSON, XML, CSV, plain text, HTML, +||XML Only|
|2||Typically HTTP||HTTP, SMTP, and FTP|
|3||Several HTTP Methods||POST & GET Only|
|5||More Flexible||More Standardized|
|7||Inherits security measures||Defines its own security|
|9||More Human-Readable||Less Human-Readable|
This table includes information found here.
Let’s do a quick overview of what each of these rows mean:
In the REST vs SOAP debate, most companies will find that REST is a perfectly suitable design philosophy to adopt when sending data across HTTP. If neither REST nor SOAP are suitable for shuttling data to your business partners, you can always try the experimental method of “IP over Avian Carriers.” 😉