Untangling SOAP vs. REST

by Marc Hedlund

Related link: http://advogato.org/article/464.html

Simon St.Laurent gives a good bundled overview on Advogato of some of the recent discussions/flamewars on SOAP vs. REST.

I think there are a few threads tangled together in the parts of this discussion I've followed (which is far from all of them):

  • Technology: the design considerations around Web services (or whatever term you prefer)
  • Standards: the processes and bodies deciding Web services standards
  • Business: the considerations a business might make in adopting one of the technologies or standards under discussion

The technology discussions are interesting and worth following -- see particularly many of the links in Sam Ruby's Weblog from yesterday. The standards discussions, perhaps better called the political discussions, are very important, but I think are dramatically detracting from the value of the technology discussions. The business discussions (which Simon needles as the "everybody's doing it" argument) are somewhat on the sideline, which I think is fine as long as we're not talking about, say, a particular business's decision.

It's interesting for me to see discussion of the W3C's role in leading or detracting from the standards process. All of the criticisms I've seen were originally raised in 1996 when the W3C decided to take over HTML standardization from the IETF (I believe I was one of the loudest, if not the most articulate, complainants at the time). As far as I can tell, nothing -- from the complaints about the process, to the process itself, to the results -- has significantly changed since then. Then again, nothing has taken its place, either. Maybe the political discussions could be factored out, and brought to a forum that addresses some of the complaints about the W3C -- leaving the technological discussions more room to breathe.


2002-05-05 23:20:23
SOAP vs. REST Resources
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