Don Box gives us his two cents on a Microsoft-internal “REST vs. SOA(P)” debate;

The following design decisions are orthogonal, even though people often conflate two or more of them:

  1. Whether one uses SOAP or POX (plain-old-XML).
  2. Whether or not one publishes an XML schema for their formats.
  3. Whether or not one generates static language bindings from an XML schema.
  4. The degree to which one relies on HTTP-specific features. That stated, screw with GET at your peril.
  5. Whether one adopts a message-centric design approach or a resource-centric design approach.

Some of the decisions (specifically 5) are architectural and sometimes philosophical.

I don’t know about that. Numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 are architectural, as all impact either the components, connectors, or data of the system. Only number 3 isn’t, since it’s an implementation detail. Number 2 is debateable I suppose, but most Web services based uses of XML schemas I’ve seen involves removing descriptive information from the message in deference to an implicit pointer to a WSDL document (and therefore a schema).

He also added;

If you want to reach both audiences before your competition does, you’ll avoid indulging in religious debates and ship something.

Of course, religious debates should always be avoided. But architectural debates should not, and REST vs. SOA(P) is an architectural debate. Period. If anybody thinks this is a religious debate, you simply haven’t done your homework.

Also of interest, his advice was preceded by this qualifier;

In hopes I never have to address this debate again, […]

Hah, that’s a good one 8-) Resistance is futile. You can’t fight loose coupling, man. It’s infectious. Muhaha!

Tags: soap, rest, microsoft, webservices.


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