The Imminent Rise of REST and Fall of SOAP

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CNet News.com has finally let the cat out of the bag for all the masses to see. WS-I had intially hoped that its sheer size would buldoze the IT community into acceptance. However, the opposite has occurred as evidenced by the CNet piece. The sheer number of WS-I standards submissions is consuming the organization from within.

Unless someone takes drastic measures, the exponential growth of WS-* standards will grow unchecked. The utility of a standard drops in proportion to its complexity. Gone unchecked, WS-I will lead to complete irrelevancy. Not only does WS-I have too many standards, what’s worse, they have too many standards that have absoulutely no implementation. Implement first and then standardize on what you’ve learned, not the other way around. History will record this endeavor as a classic case of a standards body going haywire.

Meanwhile, Paul Prescod has put together a presentation that I find quite educational. It talks about how Amazon RESTful interfaces and how it became more popular than its SOAP versions. Then he expounds on the development of the ATOM standard. It is possibly the first standard to truly exercise the REST philosophy to the extreme. Only time will tell how this comes out, nevertheless the approach is simple and sound which makes its chances extremely good.

I firmly believe that over time, sound fundamentals and principles will win. No amount of hyping or arm twisting can hide the flaws of a technology based on creaky fundamentals.


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