Difference between JAX-WS (SOAP) and JAX-RS (Restful)

If one were to define what a web service is, a simple definition would be interaction and/or communication between two devices (normally a client-server structure) to facilitate the working or either device via the Internet. Like all major companies, Java has two powerful web services to offer. They are JAX-WS and JAX-RS. The working of both the services along with their differences is detailed below.


JAX-WS stands for Java API for XML: Web Services. It uses the concept of SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). Quite evident from the title of the service, JAX-WS uses XML messages to communicate over a server or network where each message is well structured to contain a query and return to the host the required information retrieved from the query. Like all SOAP-based services, JAX web service closely follows WSDL (Web Server Definition Language).

JAX-RS (Restful)

JAX-RS stands for JAVA API for XML: Restful. This is a more flexible service as compared to JAX-WS as it uses several other language formats along with standard XML to communicate with over devices. As services of this type are generally regarded as web resources, all of them have a Unique Resource Identifier (URI) attached to them. One of the most commonly used modes of interaction is through JSON which stands for JavaScript Object Notation. Communication in HTML or using HTTP is also frequently observed with JAX-RS.

Difference Between JAX-WS (SOAP) and JAX-RS (Restful)

JAX-WS uses SOAP as its main method of communication. JAX-RS uses the Restful architectural structure to communicate between a client and a server.
JAX-WS follows the SOAP protocol and interacts in XML messages. In response to each message, another XML message is passed down from the server to the host. On the other hand, JAX-RS, as it has no fixed structure to it, can communicate through XML, HTML, JSON, and HTTP. Normally it uses JSON as it is comparatively lighter and can pass quickly over the Internet. Each message does not create much of a difference but several million messages together make up for a significant time gain.
JAX-WS is used for mainly building up web-services on an enterprise-level where you have stringent data formats to abide by and a common mode of message exchange in XML. JAX-RS is mostly used in smartphone apps and for purposes like Web Integration.



  • Barry Allen

    A Full Stack Developer with 10+ years of experience in different domain including SAP, Blockchain, AI and Web Development.

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