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Difference between WSDL and WADL

WADL is the REST equivalent of SOAP's Web Services Description Language (WSDL), which can also be used to describe REST web services.

Point of Distinction WSDL WADL
Acronym For Web Services Description Language Web Application Description Language
Definition WSDL is an XML language for describing web services. Used to describe SOAP-based web services.  WADL is an XML file-format . It is an XML vocabulary for expressing the behavior of HTTP resources. It is an XML to describe RESTful web services.
How client load file A client can load a WSDL file and get to know what methods web service can call, what are the arguments the methods expect and which data type it returns. A client can load a WADL file and can access the complete functionality of the web service.    
Easier to Read, Write & Understand Not easy compare to WADL. WSDL is difficult to write and understand. Easier than WSDL. WADL is lightweight.
XML to describes XML to describe SOAP based Web Services XML to describe RESTful Web services. WADL is a REST equivalent of SOAP's web service description language.
Relation with REST WSDL 2.0 can be used to describe REST Web services and thus competes with WADL. But it has a wider scope. WADL is REST equivalent of SOAP’s web service description language. 
Binding to SMTP server It has more binding to SMTP server No binding to SMTP Server
Flexible WSDL more flexible than WADL. WADL covers all user expectation except Authentication, which is as simple as REST.
Design Complex by Design Simple By Design
Authentication Authentication is involved for web services No Authentication involved for web services
Standard Only XML Parameter Not a standard
URI template mechanism The user needs to define xml input message to use the URI template mechanism It requires a simple URI template mechanism.
Scope More scope compared to WADL Limited scope compared to WSDL
W3C Recommendation W3C recommends WSDL interface W3C does not recommend WADL interface
HTTP protocols WSDL 1.1 only supports GET and POST methods whereas WSDL 2.0 supports HTTP protocol also. WADL strictly support REST Service, only HTTP protocol.
Major Elements <type>, <message>, <porttype>, <binding> <grammers>, <resources>, <methods>, <representation>
What it defines WSDL defines all major elements which may be defined 0 or more times except <types>. All definitions need not be in the same XML, one XML can import others.
Hence comes the concept of Abstract and Concrete portions, where concrete imports abstract.
WADL defines both resources and representation, and methods to manipulate resources.

Submitted by tgoswami on September 1, 2020

Tarun has 11+ years of experience in Quality Assurance in different domains like Banking, E-commerce, Health and Education.


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