Benefits of using SOAP API
As we’ve mentioned, SOAP is less flexible than REST because it has a strict set of XML rules it must adhere to. While SOAP APIs are commonly used for developing private APIs for internal business functions, they can also be used for public APIs.
Some of the benefits of using SOAP API include:
SOAP APIs are incredibly secure because they authenticate and authorize API calls to ensure information is passed only to the correct software or users. These APIs can use any underlying transport protocol, but the most common is HTTP, allowing them to use other authentication processes on top of its existing security features.
Simply put, SOAP prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to important data. To do this, it uses Web Standards (WS) Security that regulates the authentication procedures, including passwords, encryption, tokens, and other advanced security features.
Of course, there are several public SOAP APIs that don’t require this level of authentication. However, if you want to keep your business finances safe, SOAP API may be better suited for you than REST API.
More reliable transactions
SOAP is more secure than REST because it uses encryption to protect the transfer of data, making it more reliable. In addition, the built-in security features of SOAP APIs prevent message corruption or unauthorized access.
For instance, accounting software, banking websites, and other platforms that store your financial information may use SOAP APIs as account security best practices to protect customer information.
Because SOAP APIs adhere to strict XML standards, they’re standardized with an HTTP protocol that makes it easier to operate across systems. Additionally, SOAP has a strong emphasis on standards, which some may see as a disadvantage because it’s less flexible than REST.
SOAP can be less complex than REST, requiring less coding for more security. However, this isn’t always the case. SOAP typically has a higher learning curve than REST and is harder to code because you must adhere to strict XML standards.
SOAP is compatible with all programming languages, allowing software to exchange data and developers for creating applications that access data from a variety of sources regardless of the underlying programming language.
Disadvantages of SOAP API
While you can use SOAP for public or private APIs, it's best suited for private enterprise applications. This is because SOAP has several drawbacks for public APIs, such as:
- Bandwidth requirement: XML documents are large and require more bandwidth, making it slow to process tags.
- Difficult to learn: Since it’s a protocol, SOAP API servers require an understanding of all the protocols you might use and possible restrictions.
- No flexibility: SOAP is much more strict than REST and requires additional work to ensure messages are accurate. Therefore, updating requests and responses can be tedious and time-consuming.