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Could SOAP Be Holding Back Businesses?

June 2, 2011 No Comments

It was a huge issue when companies first started investing in SOA. At first, everyone embraced SOAP, but then REST became the “it” architectural style, particularly for the Web. By then, many enterprises were invested in SOAP, thanks in large part to Microsoft’s SharePoint which, by the way, now supports REST Web services.

I remember. I even remember dismissing it as a “developers’ debate.” So did others, contending there was no debate because developers could use each as the situation demanded.

The debate seemed to end with the truce of sorts, with SOAP used primarily for enterprise SOA and REST for the Web. And that seemed to work fine for a long time, but over the past four years, REST has quietly, quickly and significantly passed SOAP as the approach most used in API protocol and styles.

Today, more than 73 percent of all APIs listed on the Programmable Web use REST, according to ReadWriteWeb. SOAP, on the other hand, holds a meager 17 percent of Programmable Web APIs.

What happened?

SaaS, cloud and all things Web-oriented embraced REST-ful Web services while enterprises stuck with SOAP. Now, businesses are locked into licenses, staff, tools, and legacy code all based around SOAP. And that doesn’t seem to be changing. Recent job statistics show that SOAP ranked eighth among the top 20 most in-demand IT job skills this March. Meanwhile, Ajax, which uses REST principles, ranked 18th.

So who cares? How is this not a debate for developers?

It’s no longer a developers’ debate because it seems all this investment in SOAP could be keeping businesses from moving to the cloud, according to an article by Alex Williams of ReadWriteWeb. Williams’ piece is based primarily on presentations given at Gluecon, a conference for architects, developers and integrators.

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