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Api's - Rest vs Soap vs RPC vs GraphQL

API’s: Rest vs Soap vs RPC vs GraphQL#


  • Local clients sends commands to a remote server
  • Stubs convert client and server requests and responses
  • xml-rpc and json-rpc - google made general purpose rpc (gRPC)
  • Apache Thrift and twitter twirp use gRPC for internal microservices communication
  • RPC - short lightweight messages go easy on the network
  • Used verbs to manipulate the service, eg. getCustomerAccount


  • Simple Object Access Protocol
  • Microsoft created in 1999
  • Every soap message has an envelope, header and body (and a fault when it fails)
  • Soap ws-security - encrypts messages
  • Soap can chain messages - for complex transactions with multiple parties
  • Soap very complex and verbose
  • Used verbs to manipulate the service, eg. getCustomerAccount


  • Representational State Transfer
  • Resource based
  • Keeps verbs to a minimum: HTTP methods
  • Client-server autonomy: as long as the api interface does not change the client and server can change the database it uses or anything
  • Uniform interface: 1 naming convention or end-point format (endpoint is uri with http method)
  • Layered system architecture: client knows nothing of server architecture - intermediary or end server
  • Stateless interactions: each request is taken as new (opposite of soap but soap allows both)
  • HTTP caching
  • Code on demand
  • Can be chatty - getting too much info for the client
  • Shallow learning curve


  • In 2015 - Facebook got tired of REST overfetching data
  • Single request - returns all inclusive reply
  • Single endpoint
  • client can customise what is returned with a schema
  • Steep learning curve

Event driven architecture - subscribing to events instead of polling of request-response. Event producers and consumers don’t directly depend on each other. They act asynchronously and execute operations when needed.