Prior to this project, I had delivered several technical presentations to user groups and conferences regarding SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and web service architecture. So, when the call came in, it seemed I'd be a natural fit for what the client was looking to accomplish. Once I understood what they really needed, though, I decided that they would be much better off with a set of services exposed through simple GET and POST requests over HTTP, exchanging XML data describing the requests and responses. Although I didn't know it at the time, this architectural style is now commonly referred to as REST, or Representational State Transfer.
How did I decide to use REST over SOAP? Here are a few of the decision points to consider when choosing a Web Services architecture:
This manufacturer knew of a single distributor that needed to access its systems, but also acknowledged that others might decide to do the same in the future.
Because there has to be a defined relationship between the manufacturer and all its distributors, it is guaranteed that each of the potential users will have advance knowledge of how to access the manufacturer's systems.