Difference between SOAP and RESTful Web Service in Java

Difference between SOAP and RESTful Web Service in Java

Difference between SOAP and RESTful Web Service is one of the frequently asked interview questions in Java. Here is a detailed comparison between them.

REST (REpresentational State Transfer) is an architectural style on which RESTFul web services are built.SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol.
JAX-RS is the specification defined for developing RESTful web servicesJAX-WS is the specification defined for developing SOAP web services.
REST permits different data format such as Plain text, HTML, XML, JSON etc.SOAP permits XML data format only, actual response is bundled inside a SOAP message which is always in XML format.
RESTful Web services are heavily dependent upon HTTP protocol.SOAP messages can be sent over to any transport mechanism e.g. TCP, FTP, SMTP or any other protocol.
Processing a RESTful web service request is much faster because REST serves JSON that is faster to parse than XMLProcessing a SOAP request is slower because of the overhead in parsing XML markup
RESTful web service takes full advantage of the web caching mechanismSOAP web services totally ignore web caching mechanism.
REST is a concept that does not tie with any protocols. SOAP based web services can be implemented in RESTful styleSOAP can’t use REST architecture.
URL typically references the resource being accessed/deleted/updatedSOAP uses XML messages to identify the desired web procedure or resource to be invoked.
REST is lightweight as compared to SOAP, it doesn’t require CPU consuming XML parsingSOAP is heavyweight compared to REST because it requires XML parsing and require a SOAP header for every message.
No built-in error handlingBuilt-in error handling (SOAP faults)
Security in RESTful web service can be implemented using standard and traditional authentication methodsSOAP defines own security mechanism
Not suitable for distributed computing environmentDesigned to handle distributed computing environments


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Working as a Java developer since 2010. Passionate about programming in Java. I am a part time blogger.

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