SimpleDB did screw up

David Peterson defends SimpleDB‘s use of HTTP GET for mutation actions by appealing to the HTTP spec itself, specifically pipelining where it says;

Clients SHOULD NOT pipeline requests using non-idempotent methods or non-idempotent sequences of methods (see section 9.1.2). Otherwise, a premature termination of the transport connection could lead to indeterminate results. A client wishing to send a non-idempotent request SHOULD wait to send that request until it has received the response status for the previous request.

His argument is that because POST isn’t idempotent, that it couldn’t be used for pipelining, and therefore that GET could be used. There’s two fatal flaws with this argument however. The first is that PUT is idempotent, and is also a mutator, so you can pipeline that no problem (modulo the concern about sequences of requests). The second is that if both the client and server understand that an “Action” parameter specifies the actual action to be taken (overriding the HTTP method), then if Action specifies a non-idempotent method, you’re still going to run into the same indeterminism problem that the HTTP spec warns against: what matters is the effective method of the message, not only the HTTP method.

It’s also interesting that the example Dare uses is of an Action value “PutAttributes”, which is presumably idempotent, doh!

Nope, Amazon blew it, again. I’ve offered them my services a couple times already, but they’ve not taken me up on my offer yet. They really, really(!) should before they publish another service.

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