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Re: Looking for examples of non-REST information resources

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2010 09:39:08 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTikZVwFEtSafHuKWzJ+g0g6PrfP_nF+ferfZzWVk@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
Cc: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
I guess your point is that 'what the random.org RF noise sensor
detects' is like 'the weather in Oaxaca' (or maybe: 'a report on the
weather in Oaxaca'?), but I've never been satisfied with the AWWW
account of that 'resource' either. It seems alternately mystical,
tricky, and vacuous. I was hoping we could do a bit better here.

Regardless of whether you think my examples are, the question of
non-REST resources remains. You might say that there aren't any
non-REST web resources - that REST is nonfalsifiable, a tautology.
Given any kind of server behavior you can always post hoc invent some
resource and resource states that fit it. But if REST isn't
falsifiable then why all the fuss over it?  In Roy's writing and
elsewhere it comes out sounding like a recommendation - and that only
makes sense if it's a choice, i.e. if there's a way to *not* follow
the pattern. If so, given how wild the Web is, there must be cases
where someone used HTTP correctly, but did not follow the REST
pattern.

Jonathan

On Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 7:08 AM, Henry S. Thompson <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
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> OK, I'll bite -- why does the second of these _not_ "fit the REST mould"?
>
>  - has a current state consisting of "abstract information"
>     Yup -- "the next random integer, given the current seed/state, as
>             generated by the [xxx] algorithm and parameterised per
>             the request URI"
>  - the state may or may not change through time
>     Yup -- as determined by the algorithm used
>  - the state can be "represented" by "representations" (bit strings +
>    metadata) synthesized by a server
>     Yup, evidently
>  - the state might be updated by PUT and POST, or by some other process
>     Nope
>
> Or, for that matter, the first -- why is
>
>   "A topic page from Wikipedia, selected by [plug in the above or
>   whatever is an accurate description of the randomisation involved]"
>
> any _less_ a REST-mould-appropriate resource definition than "A
> collection of photos and snippets comprising a view of the current UK
> national and international news as determined by the editorial board
> of the Guardian newspapers" is?
>
> ht
> - --
>       Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
>      10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, SCOTLAND -- (44) 131 650-4440
>                Fax: (44) 131 651-1426, e-mail: ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
>                       URL: http://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/~ht/
>  [mail from me _always_ has a .sig like this -- mail without it is forged spam]
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Received on Saturday, 4 December 2010 14:39:41 GMT

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