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SOAP vs. REST: put it to rest

SOAP or REST? Maybe a little of both.

Don Box gives us one final word on the SOAP versus REST debate, which stirred a lot of passions a year ago at this time. While this summary is more applicable to those seeking to open APIs to development partners, it sums up very well where SOAP fits, and where REST fits.

  • If you want a great experience for .NET/Java devs, publish schemas through WSDL and go with SOAP.
  • If you want a great experience for LAMP folks, support POX (plain old XML) messages and will provide a non-XSD description of your formats through REST.
  • If you want to reach both .NET/Java and LAMP audiences, do both SOAP and REST.

Box's parting words on the matter: "If you want to reach both audiences before your competition does, you'll avoid indulging in religious debates and ship something."

A well-functioning service-oriented architecture will support a variety of formats, and there's certainly a place for SOAP, REST, and anything else that comes along.  What matters is that the interfaces do their jobs, and get the right information to the right end-users.