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Types Of Inbound Web Services -SOAP, JSONv2, RSS, and REST

SOAP, JSONv2, RSS, and REST are types of are the inbound web services provided by ServiceNow. These are used for various purposes and fulfill different use cases. This article provides comparisons among SOAP, JSONv2, RSS, and REST Web Services.

Below is a tabular comparison between SOAP, JSONv2, RSS, and REST web services with respect to their use in ServiceNow:

CriteriaSOAPJSONv2RSSREST
ProtocolPrimarily HTTP, but can also use SMTP, TCP, UDPExclusively uses HTTPExclusively uses HTTPExclusively uses HTTP
Message FormatUses XML to structure dataUses JSON for lighter and easier-to-read data structureUses XML to structure syndicated contentCan use XML, JSON, Plain Text depending on what the API supports
ServiceNow SupportFully supported, with well-defined APIsSupported but considered legacyMainly used for content syndication and notificationsSupported, often preferred for new integrations
Standards-BasedFollows WS-* standards, including WS-SecurityNot based on a standard, ServiceNow-specificWeb syndication standard, not ServiceNow-specificNot based on a standard but follows RESTful architectural style
Fault HandlingBuilt-in fault element in SOAP messagesManual error handling based on HTTP status codesNot applicable as it’s generally one-wayRelies on HTTP status codes for error handling
Service DefinitionsUses WSDL for service descriptionNo formal service description languageNo formal service description languageCan optionally use WADL, Swagger for documentation
Request/Response ModelStrict request/response with action specified in SOAP headerMore flexible, REST-like interactionsUsually a one-way data feedFlexible, can use various HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE)
AuthenticationSupports WS-Security, Basic AuthBasic Auth and OAuth are typically usedBasic Auth and OAuth are often usedBasic Auth and OAuth are typically used
Use Cases in ServiceNowSuited for complex integrations and business process automationsPrimarily used for simpler data transfer scenariosUsed for content syndication, e.g., news feedsIdeal for building APIs, microservices, and modern integrations
PerformanceSlower due to the XML format and extra headersFaster due to lighter-weight JSON formatFaster as it generally deals with simpler XML structuresGenerally faster due to the use of native HTTP methods
FlexibilityLess flexible due to strict schemas and standardsMore flexible due to loose coupling and simpler data structuresLimited flexibility, mainly designed for content-based feedsHigh flexibility due to stateless calls and support for various data formats
Debugging SupportSpecialized tools like SoapUI can be usedBrowser or plugins like Postman can be usedBrowsers or RSS reader plugins can be usedBrowser or plugins like Postman can be used
Error HandlingUses SOAP Faults to convey errorsUses HTTP Status Codes to convey errorsNot applicable as it’s generally one-wayUses HTTP Status Codes to convey errors
AttachmentsSupports MTOM and CID for binary dataUses Base64 encoding or separate mechanisms for binary dataNot applicableCan use Base64 encoding or separate mechanisms for handling binary data

Note:

  • This table aims to provide a general understanding; the actual implementation may differ.
  • ServiceNow may offer specific features or limitations with these protocols.

I hope this helps you understand the differences between SOAP, JSONv2, RSS, and REST web services in the context of ServiceNow.

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