Tag Archives: webservices

The bad old days

Tim recalls;

I remember the days when it was basically just Mark Baker and me shouting “The WS-King has no WS-clothes and there are WS-bleeding-sores on his WS-butt!”

One of these days, I should put together a little retrospective on the past 7-8 years: the players, the converts, the milestone moments, etc… Stay tuned.

What next?

Elias has noticed that my blog has fallen silent recently, and suggests that REST’s victory over WS-* has something to do with it.

He’s right.

I haven’t had much contract work the past few weeks, but have been helping a couple of startups. But the main reason I don’t blog is that my curmudgeonly style really only works when I’m the lone voice, arguing for the unpopular-but-superior solution. Now that the arguments I’ve been making for the past seven or so years are finally being recognized as superior, I’m sure I’d come off as just plain mean if I were to go after anybody who said that they were sticking by WS-* (something about kicking a horse when it’s down).

What comes next for me and this weblog then?

Something I considered doing a couple of years ago was a regular “Ask Mark” piece, where I’d publish one of the many REST/Web questions I get via email. I’d been answering those privately for years, but perhaps I could now do so on condition that I can publish them (though few are really interesting).

Another thought was covering REST/Web esoterica. There’s an abundance of interesting topics to cover on the fringes of REST and the Web. Yet another was a retrospective of some of the more heated battles over the past years, on weblogs and mailing lists.

Let me know what you’d like to see me cover.

Crud, more CRUD crud

I’ve said it before, but apparently not enough as David Chappel chimes in with this;

A RESTful approach is a natural for data-oriented applications that focus on create/read/update/delete scenarios.

He’ll get no argument from me that REST is good for data-oriented applications, but saying that it’s only good for the subset that fit the CRUD model is wrong. It’s wrong because CRUD doesn’t have an equivalent for HTTP POST. Once you incorporate POST into your repertoire, then you can do all kinds of interesting things like, say, ordering stuff.

Perhaps David – or anybody else – could point me towards a data oriented application which can’t fit (well) into such a model (not REST, just the uniform interface part).

REST, WADL, forest, trees

I’m kinda busy with a bunch of things on my plate, but felt I had to chime in on the latest calls for a RESTful description language ala WADL.

Aristotle’s response struck a chord;

[…] there isn’t much to describe; there aren’t any methods or signatures thereof to document, since access to resources is uniform and governed by the verbs defined in RFC 2616 (in the case of HTTP, anyway)

Right-o, though it might be helpful to rephrase that last bit as “since access to resources is through the *same* uniform interface”, because that’s the whole point of REST: all services expose the same interface. This is what provides the majority of its loose coupling, and is the principle differentiator from RPC.

So if you’re writing (or generating) contract/interface-level code which can’t late-bind to all resources, everywhere, you’re not doing REST (10 kudos to whomever identifies the specific constraint being violated).

Cut the cord already! RPC is dead. You’re not in Kansas anymore.

REST is pro-contract

So that whole “contract thang” has popped up again in the echo chamber. I’m going to pick on Steve Jones a little (more 8-), specifically something he says in his latest piece;

Where I do disagree though is whether this is a good or a bad thing to have these camps. Now I’m clearly biased as I’m on the contract side […]

Hold it! Let’s make sure we’re having the right conversation here. It’s not “pro contract” vs. “anti contract”, it’s simply “many contracts” vs “one contract”.


New voices

I’m absolutely thrilled that Tim has finally grokked REST. AFAIK, he’s the first die-hard Web services type with a strong public persona to realize REST’s (and the Web’s, of course) benefits over WS/SOA/RPC. Bravo, Tim!

I’ve long thought that what was needed in this discussion was new perspectives on the relationship between REST and WS/RPC/etc… that would permit the message to reach more people. Tim’s ably doing his part along those lines with his followup posts. I would never have thought to describe things this way.

So, who’s next?

Microsoft gig

I’ve spent some time over the past couple of months helping Microsoft with RESTful issues for two (soon to be three, I hope) different groups there. One of those is the WCF team, and Omri has just reported on some of it. I’m not sure how much of my input (if any) made it into that release, or if it’s all set for the next release, but there you have it; WCF does REST.

It was quite enjoyable to sit around the table (conference room and sushi table alike!) with Don and Steve in the context of trying to answer the question “How can Microsoft best support RESTful service developers?”, and not have to dwell much on the SOA/WS-vs-REST thing. Lots of love all round. 8-)

I’ll point to the other projects as soon as I know they’ve gone public.

Update; if it wasn’t clear, this was a consulting arrangement through my company, Coactus.

Update 2; the second project has been announced. Here’s more; doesn’t that XML just scream “Yaron”? 8-)

Seven years of WS-Bashing

I’ll be well out of range of an IP packet next week when it happens, but next Tuesday marks the seventh anniversary of my first public anti-WS post, to Develop Mentor’s old “soap-discuss” mailing list.

I didn’t realize it until now, but James Snell gets the dubious honour of being the target of that post. It’s like he’s Steve Trachsel to my Mark Mcgwire 8-).

That is all.