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A major difference between WCF SOAP and WCF REST is flexibility. WCF SOAP services supports a wide range of transport protocols, including HTTP. WCF REST services only support HTTP. One point to remember about the SOAP services is that the size of its messages adds a significant overhead. The message size is related to the fact that SOAP is intended to interoperate with different platforms, such as Java. This overhead may be a matter of concern, in terms of performance and scalability, if your application has many transactions, complex data structures, and handles large volumes of data. On the other hand, WCF REST services use the standard HTTP protocol.
The second difference between the two types of services is that WCF SOAP services are an operations-based service. A SOAP client application calls a method that is published as a web service operation on a remote server. The client receives a SOAP response in return. Web services expose an organization's capabilities, such as automated ordering and pricing services that customers can use. WCF REST services are resource-based. A client sends an HTTP request, much the way an Internet browser does, and receives a resource in return, such as data, video, or images.
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