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What are the differences among SOAP, XML-RPC, and REST?

What are the differences among SOAP, XML-RPC, and REST?

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SOAP, or Simple Object Access Protocol is an XML-based object invocation protocol, and was originally developed for distributed applications to communicate over HTTP. SOAP defines the use of XML and HTTP to access platform independent services.

In contrast, XML-RPC is a Remote Procedure Calling protocol that works over the Internet, and is really an XML-RPC message that is an HTTP-POST request. The body of the request is in XML. A procedure executes on the server and the value it returns is also formatted in XML.

* REST is a bit different. REST (REpresentative State Transfer) is a technique for implementing Web services using XML documents plus standard HTTP, using its well-known operations (PUT, GET, POST, DELETE). The service-specific API is created by defining URIs (typically URLs) and XML documents that model the data structures and requests/responses required. REST has some very useful properties, e.g. you can use standard firewalls for security, standard caching for performance, while still letting you do everything that SOAP and XML-RPC can do.

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This was first published in July 2002

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