What is Web Service and What are Different types of Web Services

What is Web Service and What are Different Types of Web Services - A web service is any piece of software that makes itself available over the internet and uses a standardized XML messaging system. XML is used to encode all communications to a web service. A web service is a collection of open protocols and standards used for exchanging data between applications or systems.

There are a few central types of web services: XML-RPC, UDDI, SOAP, and REST: XML-RPC (Remote Procedure Call) is the most basic XML protocol to exchange data between a wide variety of devices on a network. It uses HTTP to quickly and easily transfer data and communication other information from client to server.

A Web Service is can be defined in the following ways:

  • Is a client-server application or application component for communication.
  • Method of communication between two devices over the network.
  • Is a software system for interoperable machine-to-machine communication.
  • Is a collection of standards or protocols for exchanging information between two devices or applications.

As you can see in the figure, java, .net or PHP applications can communicate with other applications through web service over the network. For example, java applications can interact with Java, .Net, and PHP applications. So web service is a language-independent way of communication.

Types of Web Services

There are mainly two types of web services.

  • SOAP web services.
  • RESTful web services.

SOAP Web Services

SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. It is an XML-based protocol for accessing web services. SOAP is a W3C recommendation for communication between two applications.

SOAP is XML based protocol. It is platform-independent and language-independent. By using SOAP, you will be able to interact with other programming language applications.

Advantages of Soap Web Services

WS Security: SOAP defines its own security known as WS Security.

Language and Platform independent: SOAP web services can be written in any programming language and executed on any platform.

Disadvantages of Soap Web Services

Slow: SOAP uses an XML format that must be parsed to be read. It defines many standards that must be followed while developing SOAP applications. So it is slow and consumes more bandwidth and resources.

WSDL dependent: SOAP uses WSDL and doesn't have any other mechanism to discover the service.

RESTful Web Services

REST stands for Representational State Transfer. REST is an architectural style, not a protocol.

Advantages of RESTful Web Services

Fast: RESTful Web Services are fast because there is no strict specification like SOAP. It consumes less bandwidth and resources.

Language and Platform independent: RESTful web services can be written in any programming language and executed on any platform.

Can use SOAP: RESTful web services can use SOAP web services as the implementation.

Permits different data formats: RESTful web service permits different data formats such as Plain Text, HTML, XML, and JSON.

SOAP vs REST Web Services





SOAP is a protocol.

REST is an architectural style.


SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol.

REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer.


SOAP can't use REST because it is a protocol.

REST can use SOAP web services because it is a concept and can use any protocol like HTTP, SOAP.


SOAP uses service interfaces to expose the business logic.

REST uses URI to expose business logic.


SOAP defines standards to be strictly followed.

REST does not define too many standards like SOAP.


SOAP defines standards to be strictly followed.

REST does not define too many standards like SOAP.


SOAP requires more bandwidth and resources than REST.

REST requires less bandwidth and resources than SOAP.


SOAP defines its own security.

RESTful web services inherit security measures from the underlying transport.


SOAP permits XML data format only.

REST permits different data formats such as Plain text, HTML, XML, JSON, etc.


SOAP is less preferred than REST.

REST more preferred than SOAP.

What are Web services in simple words?

A Web service is defined as "a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network". Web services are frequently just Web APIs that can be accessed over a network, such as the Internet, and executed on a remote system hosting the requested services.

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