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A Modest Proposal (was RE: Binding)

From: Champion, Mike <Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 08:48:33 -0700
Message-ID: <9A4FC925410C024792B85198DF1E97E404B6D59E@usmsg03.sagus.com>
To: www-ws-arch@w3.org

In my very humble and personal opinion, the "REST vs web services"
permathread has made very little progress in its latest incarnation.  In my
more paranoid moments, I wonder whether the point is to distract us from all
the other issues on the WSA WG agenda.

My experience with W3C WGs suggests that when people are talking past one
another and repeat the same arguments over and over, it's time to do
something different. Generally, that involves getting VERY concrete about
what the spec should say and avoiding the temptation to drag in large scale
abstractions, textbook arguments, and so forth. Here's my proposal:

- Let's accept that the charter and requirements of this WG are more or less
fixed; they can easily accomodate *both* RESTful and RESTless architectural
styles, but they can't allow us to simply accept one and ignore the other.
The issue the WSA document must address is not "which is the One True
Architectural Style" but "what are the advantages/disadvantages of each and
the situations under which one or the other has been shown to work better."

- Let's focus on what the WSA document should SAY about the relationship
between the WSA and the Webarch.  Propose text and critique other proposals.

Mine the archives of this mailing list for prose; I'm reasonably sure that
just about everything that can be said on this subject has been said in
there somewhere already :-)

- The most useful thing I can think of for the document would be to take one
or more simple but realistic use cases and describe a RESTful and a
conventional SOAP/WSDL approach to the problem, then assess their
strengths/weaknesses.

- There's a classic conflict resolution technique which advocates of each
side are required to state the position of the OTHER side to its
satisfaction.  Something to think about ... Even if you can't think of a
plausible RESTful or RESTless (depending on your point of view) approach to
a particular scenario, think of a scenario in which "the other side's"
approach is better suited.  

- Let's try to avoid appeals to authority, intellectual, administrative,
religious, or otherwise!  There's ain't no authority on the Web other than
"what works". I (wearing my co-chair hat) am committed to helping produce
the best statement we can come up with on what the WS Architecture is, can
be, and should be.  If some authority figure doesn't like it, he/she can
participate in the discussion and persuade us otherwise.   
Received on Monday, 6 January 2003 10:49:16 GMT

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