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Noam Tamarkin

SOAP vs REST - another angle to the argument

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Hello to the SOA citizens,

I wonder why the argument about SOAP and REST is so intense.
As an application developer I really don't care. Just give me a protocol that will move my data from one application to the other over LAN or over the web.
Naturally, it has to be secured and reliable. Of course I would like to invest as little as possible in operating this protocol.
So I need something that is at least a de-facto standard and will be supported by my infrastructure. I think these are enough requirements.

So SOAP or REST or something else?

At the moment, I choose SOAP. Why? Simply because it fulfills my requirements above and some more that I did not mention.

My angle in the argument is the popularity argument. SOAP seems to be the popular vote.

The standard has evolved in time, based on the work of many people in international organizations. This enough to make popular.

It is also evolved "naturally" as much as something in our domain is natural.
SOAP is a long time selection by people with experience and expertise.
Not long ago, we used to have these long discussions for any new integration.
What is the proper protocol between UNIX and IBM mainframe? Where to place the content? Where to place the credentials? what to do to secure it?

SOAP has evolved from all these question into a standard. 

Give another one like this, and I may use it.

Personally, wherever I see a software product that is used for a long time and serves its purpose, I tend to stop and learn what are the reasons of its success.

Yours truly,

Noam



1 Comment

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I think there is very much a place for both. To my mind, the Internet has been built up on the simplicity of REST which is effectively a way to access resources using a URL. However, I also believe it has deficiencies that don't make it appropriate for all uses. Also, while you can describe it with something called WADL, this has not gained the acceptance that WSDL provides. There is nothing nicer than being pointed to a WSDL and knowing that you can import this into an application and you know how to call the services it describes and what they will return to you. Of course you need to understand the data but at least the 'plumbing' to get to the data is done.

REST provides a very simple way of getting data into things like editors, Excel or Word very easily. We provide a REST capability to get data from a database on mainframe or UNIX into an Excel spreadsheet and it never ceased to amaze me how cool people think it is. We have seen people use it as a simple way to get a list to do a mail merge in Word as well so it has it's place.

It can also be used from Java and the .net platform but we see people prefer to use the SOAP based form of the service in these environments as it means less handcoding as the IDEs do it for you.

So, a long winded way of saying that it's very much 'horses for courses' in terms of what you decide to use.

Best regards,

John

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In this blog, Noam Tamarkin provides ideas for improving and better integrating your applications.

Noam Tamarkin

Senior software architect and CTO. Experience in solution design and implementation. Holds the ability to understand complex business processes and translate them to technology. Expert in Enterprise applications, integration, SOA, SaaS. Experienced in project management, technical infrastructure, procurement and manufacturing.

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