W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-ws-arch@w3.org > January 2003

Semantic Web needed for RESTful Web services? (RE: Binding)

From: Champion, Mike <Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 06:18:34 -0700
Message-ID: <9A4FC925410C024792B85198DF1E97E404B6D8F7@usmsg03.sagus.com>
To: www-ws-arch@w3.org

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Baker [mailto:distobj@acm.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 1:05 AM
> To: Christopher B Ferris
> Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Binding
> Or fewer and more general, which is exactly what the Semantic 
> Web effort
> is about.  Replacing understand-it-or-not schemas with a general data
> model for communicating the information within a schema, enabling
> partial understanding (as I described to Walden).

In your last couple of posts you've mentioned Semantic Web technologies more
then they have come up recently, Mark.  I'm not trying to re-explore our
OTHER favorite rathole (shudder!), just trying to clarify this "uniform
interface" business.  I *think* you're saying that the RESTful interfaces
allow a machine to store and retrieve data  without a priori agreement on
its syntax/semantics, and then some combination of XML  and SW technologies
can be used to work with the syntax and semantics.  OK so far?

> > However, REST does not aide in the ability for one to 
> deploy a service 
> > that has a prayer of being
> > used by a consumer that has not been written by the author 
> of the service. 
> Whoa, I see it as just the opposite.

Could you explain why? ... cutting and pasting from whichever previous post
you probably made the point in?  This thread is simply too long for me to
keep track of!  The only way I can see "the opposite" from your arguments is
by reference to semantic web techniques.  

> > Was I supposed to be doing an 
> > HTTP GET on these URI? How did I know they were URI to begin with?
> These are all things an application has to deal with.  REST isn't
> a totally free ride. 8-)  Luckily what those things mean are fairly
> well defined in RFC 2616. 

OK, I think I get another glimmer here ... you're saying that the semantics
of HTTP itself can be used to constrain what a client application can do
with the data, and that there is a lot of unexploited potential here that
doesn't require the semantic web?  OK, I follow for hypermedia-ish
operations like redirects, but those seem like corner cases in this

> > I think that that future is a long, long ways off. 
> TimBL thinks two years.  I think four.

Two, four, eight, or sixteen years, whatever.  I was under the impression
all these long months of this permathread that you thought that RESTful Web
services were ready for prime time now!  If the argument is that the Web
won't need humans someday, somewhere over the rainbow, I have no problem
with the logic.  (I'll believe it when I see it, but I do understand the

> I know Mike said no appeals to authority, but I've known Roy Fielding
> for a few years, and he's the smartest guy I know on planet Earth.  He
> says REST is just fine for automata.  Are you *sure* he's wrong?

Hmmm.  I get the impression from the TAG list that Roy is not the world's
biggest fan of the Semantic Web.  Something just doesn't add up here!
Anyway, all Roy said on this list recently is that REST is well suited to
automata such as spiders; I've yet to see a definitive statement from Roy
that REST is all you need for Web services use cases, without some a priori
agremeements among humans about the syntax and semantics of the
representations being passed around.  

Perhaps we can ALL agree that if either a) humans have made a priori
agreements on the syntax and semantics of the representations being passed
around or b) Semantic Web technologies can be used to describe the semantics
of the XML representations being passed around, then RESTful Web services
are quite possible and practical.  

[Is this faint hope for closure on this issue doomed to be shattered?  Be 
still, my beating heart :-) ]
Received on Tuesday, 7 January 2003 08:36:53 UTC

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