SOAP vs. REST The Main Differences

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In a world where technology is ever-evolving, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest developments to keep your business running smoothly. APIs are an integral part of this process, allowing businesses to integrate their systems with those of their trading partners. But with so many different types of APIs available, which one should you choose? This article will explore the main differences between SOAP and REST API types and help you decide which one might be preferable for your applications. We'll also highlight the importance of testing and debugging when choosing an API, and introduce Orderful as an ideal choice for businesses looking to easily integrate their systems with trading partners using modern APIs.

What is REST API?

APIs are essential for systems to communicate and interact with each other. Representational State Transfer (REST) is a specific architectural style used to create APIs that efficiently communicate data between two systems.

  • REST APIs typically send data in either JSON or XML format via HTTP requests from the client, usually a web browser, to the server. The server then sends and receives requests using various HTTP methods such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE.
  • These methods enable RESTful APIs to be stateless – meaning that they do not keep track of user activity across different requests. This makes them ideal for creating new applications or enhancing existing ones due to their lightweight nature and intuitive approach. Additionally, it makes designing, developing, and maintaining APIs easier overall.
  • One of the main advantages of REST over other API types is its ability to scale quickly and easily. Using HTTP methods in RESTful APIs, businesses can develop applications quickly without needing to spend time or resources on development.
  • Since REST uses HTTP requests, developers can use tools like cURL or Postman to work with http protocols. This makes debugging easier than with some other API types.
  • REST is an architectural style used to create easy-to-use APIs that facilitate communication between systems. It provides scalability and flexibility for developers, and it's ideal for creating APIs that are easy to use.

What is SOAP API?

SOAP API, or Simple Object Access Protocol, is an XML-based messaging protocol used to facilitate communication between two computers.

  • It was developed as a successor to the well-known Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA),  as a language-independent protocol.
  • The primary goal of SOAP is to let applications from different languages and platforms talk to each other. This is good for businesses that want to integrate their systems with trading partners through modern APIs. 
  • However, SOAP has slower page load times compared to REST or other APIs. This is because it has a complex structure and requires more time and resources when implementing a server network. 
  • There are still advantages of using SOAP over other protocols, such as better security and performance with encryption and authentication.

The right expert can help you decide which is right for your business


SOAP and REST are two of the most popular ways to create APIs for applications. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, making it important to consider the needs of the application when deciding which API is best suited. 

The main difference between SOAP and REST is in the way they communicate data between the two systems. SOAP uses XML to send messages, while REST relies on HTTP requests. This makes REST simpler and more efficient than SOAP because it does not require a complex structure for communication. As a result, REST APIs can be faster and more reliable than their SOAP counterparts.

When choosing an API, it’s important to consider the type of data being exchanged, or how much data is being exchanged at once. If you need lots of complex information, use SOAP. It's better suited for handling large datasets due to its more robust network structure. However, if you need quick information such as stock prices or weather, then REST is better as it can provide faster response times.

Regardless of which API you choose for your application, testing and debugging are essential steps in guaranteeing that your API works properly over time. Orderful's cloud-based solutions easily connect businesses' systems with trading partners using modern APIs such as REST and SOAP.

Which is the right one for you?

Choosing the right API for your application can be a daunting task. There are various factors to consider, such as development effort, security, and scalability. If you need a lightweight and intuitive interface that is also efficient in handling large volumes of requests then REST API might be for you. However, if you need more robust security or error handling capabilities, then SOAP may be the better choice for enterprise applications. When choosing the right API for your business, there are a lot of considerations to weigh. SOAP and REST APIs have different advantages and disadvantages, so you need to weigh each one to make an informed decision. Ultimately, finding the right business partners that understand the differences between these two types of APIs is key when selecting the best solution for your business needs.

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