An API in the context of web development, is a set of HTTP request messages, with a defined structure of response messages or a set of routines, protocols, and tools for developing web-enabled and mobile based application. It specifies how to authenticate the data from the API server.
SOAP is a standard based web services access protocol that has been originally developed by Microsoft and utilize all the benefits of long-term use. The professional web developers who like to develop a program using SOAP API because they can develop code easily in standard programming interface that reads WSDL (Web Service Definition Language).
It is developed by Microsoft to take place of old technologies which are not working well on the internet like DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model), CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture). Binary messaging was the reason of these technologies failure. Later on, it was submitted to IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) for its standardized uses.
Simple Object Access Protocol(SOAP) is a messaging protocol. It allows programs that run on different operating systems like Windows and Linux to communicate using HTTP (Hypertext Markup Language) and its XML (extensible markup language). It relies on XML to provide messaging services.
It specifies how to encode an HTTP header file so that one computer can communicate from another and pass the related information.
It also specifies how a called program can return a response. SOAP supports frequent other transport protocols, despite its frequent pairing with HTTP. The standard web environment requires a common data encoding protocol and message format and SOAP fulfill its requirements as a standard to encode messages in XML that can call upon functions in other web applications.
You can use it to create, retrieve, update or delete records of accounts, and custom objects. With more than 20 different calls it allows you to maintain passwords, perform searches and more.
Soap calls can get through the firewall servers while other can be blocked for security issues. As it already defined, HTTP requests are defined through firewalls, so the programs using SOAP are sure about that programs can communicate anywhere with other programs.
Leveraging SOAP Advantages:
- It is a platform as well as language independent.
- It provides access through Proxies and Firewall for simplified communication.
- It also has the power to advantage multiple transport protocols including HTTP, SMTP etc.
Disadvantage of leveraging SOAP:
- It is a slow type of middleware standards than others because it uses verbose XML format.
- When it leverages HTTP protocol for transport SOAP is limited to pooling that results into, only one client can use the server in typical situations.
- It has different level of programming language supports, for example, SOAP support within PHP and Python and it’s not as strong as Java and .Net.
In web development services, there are many API’s like SOAP, REST, Bulk etc. which supports to handle web-based services to handle the data in a better manner.