Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP brings it’s own protocol and focuses on exposing pieces of application logic (not data) as services. SOAP exposes operations. SOAP is focused on accessing named operations, each implement some business logic through different interfaces.
Though SOAP is commonly referred to as “web services” this is a misnomer. SOAP has very little if anything to do with the Web. REST provides true “Web services” based on URLs and HTTP.
Here are a few reasons you may want to use SOAP.
WS-Security : While SOAP supports SSL (just like REST) it also supports WS-Security which adds some enterprise security features. Supports identity through intermediaries, not just point to point (SSL). It also provides a standard implementation of data integrity and data privacy. Calling it “Enterprise” isn’t to say it’s more secure, it simply supports some security tools that typical internet services have no need for, in fact they are really only needed in a few “enterprise” scenarios.
WS-AtomicTransaction : Need ACID Transactions over a service, you’re going to need SOAP. While REST supports transactions, it isn’t as comprehensive and isn’t ACID compliant. Fortunately ACID transactions almost never make sense over the internet. REST is limited by HTTP itself which can’t provide two-phase commit across distributed transactional resources, but SOAP can. Internet apps generally don’t need this level of transactional reliability, enterprise apps sometimes do.
WS-ReliableMessaging : Rest doesn’t have a standard messaging system and expects clients to deal with communication failures by retrying. SOAP has successful/retry logic built in and provides end-to-end reliability even through SOAP intermediaries.