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Difference between SOAP and WSDL

Difference between SOAP and WSDL

access_time February 15, 2023 remove_red_eye 808 views

People use SOAP and WSDL files for managing Content Servers from a client app. While WSDL stands for Web Services Definition Language, SOAP represents Simple Object Access Protocol. You should know that this one is a messaging protocol based on XML. It encodes the data in the web service request. Before it sends them over the network, it responds to the messages.

WsdlGenerator, which we know as the WSDL Generator component, is enabled by default in Content Server. It can produce WSDLs for Content Server’s services. In this case, it is possible to take and plug them into APIs so that you can create web services and use them with Content Server.

What is SOAP?

This one represents an XML-based network protocol that alters structured data between nodes. Based on architecture, it includes four layers: Header, Body, Envelope, and Fault. It functions on top of HTTP, SMTP, and other application layer protocols for transmission. This protocol comes with three important characteristics that make it more supportive than WSDL.

SOAP elements in the XML document:

Header: It includes the beginning section and optional attributes related to the message. The header is an optional element.

Body: Communicating messages related to data and information remains in this section.

Envelope: The message’s start and endpoints are defined in this mandatory section.

Fault: It contains the fault element information related to the message processing error. However, it is an optional part.

Three important characteristics of SOAP messages:

Extensibility: It is especially from the security and different related extension development perspective.

Independence: This one can provide support to all or most of the programming models.

Neutrality: While it can provide support, it is operational completely over HTTP, JMS, SMTP, and many protocols.

What is WSDL?

This one is an XML-based interface definition language using which it is possible to describe the web service functionalities. IBM and Microsoft developed it together. Later, W3C identified it on June 26, 2007.

There are three main elements: types, binding, and operations. A typical WSDL lets you know how to implement and communicate with XML-based services.

Essential features of WSDL:

  • People use this protocol in decentralized and distributed environments.
  • It lets you know about the web service access process and its functionalities.
  • WSDL also informs you how to communicate with XML-based services.
  • UUDI uses the WSDL language to work.

Key Differences between SOAP and WSDL:

We have given here a table containing the differences between SOAP and WSDL.


Difference SOAP WSDL
Definition It is an XML-based messaging protocol that alters differently structured information used to implement web services in pc networks. This one refers to an XML-based interface definition language that can describe several web service functionalities.
Standard form Simple Object Access Protocol Web Services Description Language
Architecture This protocol comes with four layers of architecture, including- Header, Body, Envelope, and Fault. Its architecture contains three major elements: Types, Binding, and Operations.
Simplicity Hence, coding indicates the beginning step of programming complex queries. You should know that this one is simpler than programming. In this case, it can result in appropriate machine-level outputs by handling various complex situations and queries. Therefore, we can call it an advanced version of coding. Basically, it is more complex than the protocol.
Neutrality This one can offer support for HTTP, JMS, SMTP, etc. Besides, it is fully operational over these protocols. For WSDL, there is no support for the protocols.
Performance When it comes to performance, it may work more slowly compared to the other one because of the fundamental actualization and binding processes. It can communicate quickly and perform quicker than the SOAP interphase and web servers communication.
Mode of Operation Hence, you can link the existing firewalls and proxies because of its simpler transaction & communication across HTTP servers. You need to communicate it directly through web servers. That’s why the link-up procedure does not work smoothly as in SOAP.
Independence Most programming models don’t get any support in this case. For WSDL, it isn’t the case. There is a dependency on various programming models.
Support Its users get plenty of community support. It offers a wide range of community & paid support. Generally, its versions can offer long-term customer support.


The bottom line:

In this article, we have elaborated several factors based on which you can compare: SOAP and WSDL. Both are two key XML-based web-service communicating programming languages. While SOAP can exchange differently structured information for web services’ implementation in PC networks, WSDL describes the web service functionalities. Remember that both come with their benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, whenever you choose any of these, it is vital to learn and understand all important aspects. It depends on the project type you work on, how much time is required, & other elements which are required to reach the target.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can we call SOAP service without WSDL?

Without WSDL, developers need to know about the SOAP service to consume.

  • What is the relation between SOAP and WSDL?

WSDL refers to an XML-based definition language through which you can explain how a web service ( that depends on SOAP) works. Its files are central to testing those services which are based on SOAP. On the flip side, SoapUI can use these files to create assertions, test requests, and mock services.

  • Does SOAP require WSDL?

You don’t need the WSDL Generator component to use SOAP. However, if required, administrators write service calls to Content Server in SOAP. You should know that the WSDL Generator can alter the existing client apps easily.


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