RESTful notes from XML Europe 2004

Eric writes sums up the XML Europe 2004 conference, and his summary includes a couple of points that REST and Web services folks might be interested in.

While talking about Amazon, he writes;

These services are available either as SOAP or REST (that is, XML over HTTP). Much simpler, REST web services can be tested using a web browser. They account for 80% of the actual requests. In my view this is confirmation of the continuity between the Web and web services. Before anything else, web services are, as their name indicates, services accessible on the Web. They belong to the Web, and that’s what makes them so interesting.

Yup. A little bit of wishful thinking perhaps, but that’s fine.

Then he mentions a talk by the occasionally-reclusive (8-) Paul Prescod;

As expected from a defender of the REST architectural style, Prescod’s presentation started with a moving speech in favor of REST: “the document is what matters”; “we need resource oriented architecture rather than SOA”; “XML is the solution to the problem, not the problem”; “the emphasis should be on resources” and “there should be a seamless web of information resources”.

“the document is what matters”, I like that. But I expect that SOA proponents would be dumbfounded by that statement, since they’ve been saying pretty much the same thing, at least since “document style” SOAP came into common use. But the difference between document-SOA and REST is that the former uses documents and APIs, while the latter just uses documents. In other words, document style SOA is like a hybrid style of RPC and document orientation, whereas REST is purely document oriented; simple document exchange (aka state transfer) between distributed and autonomous parties.

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