People want SOAP or a WDSL. I've just got a defined API. What's wrong with that?

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  • Explain to them what a hopefully RESTful Web Service is. – Robby Pond Mar 17 '11 at 1:38
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    Nothing wrong with that. This sounds like an implementation detail with not much business need behind it. As long as it is only your colleagues (or random people on the Internet) complaining, don't worry. Ask them what exactly they could do with SOAP that they cannot already do in a slightly different fashion with what you have now. If customers demand SOAP (and are willing to pay for that), then you can think about it again. – Thilo Mar 17 '11 at 1:39
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    Your question makes me sad. – Jesse Wolgamott Mar 17 '11 at 2:09
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    I would point them to the APIs of big successful sites that don't use SOAP or WDSL e.g. Flickr, Twitter etc. – John Topley Mar 17 '11 at 10:18
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    Now wait a sec, just because he has a Web API, doesn't necessarily mean that its RESTful either. So perhaps some clarification would help? – mezmo Mar 17 '11 at 14:38

People are lazy and/or ignorant.

"Web service" is not synonymous with SOAP and WSDL. It's not the only way to do it.

The interesting experiment to run would be to provide a SOAP and WSDL based version of your REST API. Instrument it to see how much each one is used.

I'll bet that, over time, the REST API will get more users due to its simplicity. As long as both are publicized and documented equally well the simpler one will win.

  • I'm adding a WSDL for the API. – Terry G Lorber Apr 3 '11 at 23:17

Point them to Wikipedia and point out the "Web Services" part after the "RESTful" and say "it is too!" RESTful Web services at Wikipedia

It has a short blurb about SOAP in there. Or you can point them to this article that goes over SOAP, REST and their use cases.


When they say they want SOAP, do they mention WHICH SOAP features they're really after? When I'm doing Java web services, and .Net clients, I personally prefer SOAP so that VS can generate a bunch of .NET classes that'll automagically handle all the network stuff, XML parsing, and object mapping, which while isn't hard, is a PITA. That addresses the lazy issues. If there are OTHER reasons, being able to fall back to an SMTP or other transport layer, which yes, I have actually done with SOAP. Do they have an older service bus that doesn't support REST? Is your interface actually REST? (ok, I said that earlier ). There are a lot of things in SOAP that are addressed in REST with the old YAGNI argument, which is usually true, but not always.

Good Luck.

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