The unsittable fence

Mark Little explains why he’s a proud fence sitter in the REST vs. WS-* debate;

I’ve never believed in the one-size fits all argument; REST has simplicity/manageability to offer in certain circumstances and WS-* works better in others. As far as distributed internet-based computing is concerned, REST is probably closer to Mac OS X and that makes WS-* the Windows. For what people want to do today I think REST is at the sweet spot I mentioned earlier. But as application requirements get more complex, WS-* takes over. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that they can compliment each other: it need not be a case of eiher one or the other.

Ah yes, more of the inaccurate trucks vs cars-style comparisons. In truth, SOA no more complements REST than a musket complements an M4, or an Edsel complements a BMW. REST is an improvement upon SOA in the general case, plain and simple.

0 thoughts on “The unsittable fence

  1. Mark Little

    BTW, if it was really that “plain and simple” we’d all be using REST by now. There are good technical and political arguments in both directions. One of my points is that we are wasting a good deal of effort in arguing something that isn’t getting any closer to a resolution one way or another, and in the argument we risk losing sight of the real winners (or losers) in the debate: the end users.

    Oh, and by the way, my discussion wasn’t on REST versus SOA, it was REST versus WS-*. A subtle though important difference.

  2. Mark Baker

    I understand your view Mark, I just disagree, and I’m confident that in time, you and others will come to appreciate why REST is an improvement on SOA.

    As for REST vs. SOA versus REST vs WS-*, I chose the former (despite noticing you using the latter) because you can’t really compare an architectural style to a set of specifications. “SOA” is the closest thing to an architectural style that Web services has, AFAIK, and I prefer to use it to get an apples-to-apples comparison. If you meant “HTTP & URIs” vs WS-* though, that would also be a valid comparison because both are specifications. As long as we pick a valid comparison, I’m happy. 8-)

  3. Mark Little

    We’ll have to continue to agree to disagree then (for now) ;-) You’re right in the apples-and-oranges comparison, but to many people REST is an implementation choice based on HTTP/WWW, whereas SOA=Web Services. I’m not one of those people BTW, but I do think that to many users and developers that’s the choice as they see it: “do I implement using REST or using WS-*”. The architectural nuances are lost on them, in much the same way that the architectural nuances of JEE/EJB3 or CORBA are often lost on end users.

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  5. bryan

    Well most SOA people I have talked to claim that SOA is more than Web Services. Some claim that REST is a valid SOA. Of course Web Services gurus claim that Web Services have nothing to do with the Web, so it seems like everyone is busy claiming they are not at all involved with anyone else, other than riding on their coattails (such as they are in the case of Web Services).

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