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In what ways is SOAP and REST used in real life jobs?

Syed Islam
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 03, 2013
Posts: 117
I recently had a conversation with someone who was giving me careers advice (I'm unemployed but looking to get into android development or maybe a junior java role). He asked me whether I knew XML which I had some familiarity with from android programming. Then he asked me if I had heard of or used SOAP or REST, which I didn't. He was quite shocked that they did not teach this at university.

Yesterday I went through a nice tutorial which explained how to use web service to get a country name from the IP address using SOAP protocol. My question to you guys is in the thread title. If I were to apply for a java job (I know it depends on the job) that required me to understand SOAP and/or REST, what kind of tasks would I be expected to perform and how difficult can it get?

Are web services normally free? I guess I don't quite have a full understanding of where web services are used. I imagined that all big companies (McDonalds, Tesco, Pizza Hut) would have a link somewhere on the website that would provide for web services. For example a service that with give all store locations and opening times.

Lastly, so I have a better complete understanding and can ponder over this in my head... can someone give me an example of apps that may use SOAP/REST. All I can think of is live currency converter.
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41181
    
  45
Oh boy, that's a bookful of questions! :-)

You should start by reading quite a few of the articles linked in the http://www.coderanch.com/how-to/java/WebServicesFaq. It has introductions to SOAP and REST, amongst much other good stuff.

There's no "normally" for WS - they come in all kinds of shapes: free vs. commercial, public vs. company-internal, authenticated vs. unauthenticated, etc. Some companies make stuff available, others don't.

If you're interested in mobile development, then you will hardly be able to get around dealing with WS (usually REST) - most apps access some server or other for doing their job, whether it's social networking apps, weather apps, currency converters, etc. They all access WS to do those tasks.


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William Brogden
Author and all-around good cowpoke
Rancher

Joined: Mar 22, 2000
Posts: 12761
    
    5
This site gives some commercial REST style information for big players such as Amazon, Twitter, and many others.

Historically speaking, as XML became better known, many people felt that SOAP would come to dominate web services. This has not happened because SOAP is way way over complicated for simple web service operations. SOAP ends up being used for services where security / authentication is most important.

Take Ulf's advice and browse some articles linked in the FAQ.

Bill
Syed Islam
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 03, 2013
Posts: 117
Thanks for the links guys. I'll have a look at them now.

Ulf Dittmer wrote:If you're interested in mobile development, then you will hardly be able to get around dealing with WS (usually REST)

Hello I just wondered if you were meant to say "hardly be able to get around without dealing with WS". I'm not being a grammar nazi or anything it's just that I'll take the advice differently depending on what you meant.
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41181
    
  45
No, I meant what I said; maybe it's an expression you're not familiar with. It means that you will need to deal with WS if you're serious about mobile development.
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

Ulf Dittmer wrote:If you're interested in mobile development, then you will hardly be able to get around dealing with WS (usually REST)


Just to clarify: "get around" == "avoid".
Syed Islam
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 03, 2013
Posts: 117
Ulf Dittmer wrote:No, I meant what I said; maybe it's an expression you're not familiar with. It means that you will need to deal with WS if you're serious about mobile development.

Ok thanks. I'm familiar with the term "there's no way round it" but normally I've heard it in speech rather than written form. That's just me in the UK anyway.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: In what ways is SOAP and REST used in real life jobs?
 
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