W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > April 2002

Re: FW: draft findings on Unsafe Methods (whenToUseGet-7)

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 23:01:16 -0400
To: David Orchard <dorchard@bea.com>
Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org, xml-dist-app@w3.org, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020415230116.N20848@www.markbaker.ca>
(Reply-To set to www-tag@w3.org, per your instruction)


On Mon, Apr 15, 2002 at 03:19:26PM -0700, David Orchard wrote:
> My belief is that the web has been based upon a shared information space,
> primarily through use of GET/POST methods.  However, as we move towards more
> machine to machine oriented communications, with arbitrary payloads of XML,
> and it's focus on update/service oriented architectures, the need for a
> public contract for safe actions is dramatically reduced.

We've danced around this issue for far too long, so I thank you for
raising it, but you are incorrect.

It is a common misconception by Web services proponents that HTTP is
nothing more than a transport protocol which moves bits from A to B,
where A is typically a web server, and B is typically a Web browser.  It
should come as no surprise that because of this view, it is felt that
HTTP and the architectural style that describes it (REST) is
insufficient for program to program communication.  This could not be
further from the truth.

Anything that can be done with other architectural styles, such as
message passing, RPC, tuple spaces, etc.. can also be accomplished with
REST.  It just has to be done in a different way.  The common use of Web
services, upon which you are bumping up against with this complaint, is
not REST and is not the Web.  It is attempting to use a different
architectural style, RPC (or some derivative), that has repeatedly
demonstrated its inability to be deployed on the Internet (ONC, CORBA,

> This is a classic liason
> activity, where we need to strive for consensus between different views.  I
> would be glad to participate and help in such a liason.

IMO, Web architecture - at least the core of it - is not a matter for
concensus gathering.  It should be extracted from running code and the
lessons learned over the past 10+ years.  The common use of Web services
ignores virtually all of this past history.

> 3. I encourage interested parties in the other groups to respond to this
> issue.  This is one of the first TAG findings, and has potential significant
> ramifications to the web services architecture.

You're darned tootin'! 8-)

> Formal - as suggested in
> item #2 - and personal discussions - this item - should help foster
> education and consensus that have so far been illusive.  I've specifically
> sent this note to dist-app as a call to arms on this issue.

I fully agree with Dan's draft findings, and I would be absolutely
shocked, disappointed, and upset if the TAG were not able to agree on
one of the single most important architectural principles on the Web.
As an AC rep, I would actively pursue having the TAG disbanded if
concensus could not be reached on such a fundamental issue; I would
rather have no TAG, than a TAG that could not represent Web architecture
within and outside the W3C, as the latter could do more damage by
silencing the voices of the architects of the Web on the TAG; TimBL,
Dan Connolly, and Roy Fielding.

> 4. A personal note.  I find it disappointing that we are debating this
> issue.

At least we agree on that. 8-/


Mark Baker, Chief Science Officer, Planetfred, Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.      mbaker@planetfred.com
http://www.markbaker.ca   http://www.planetfred.com
Received on Monday, 15 April 2002 22:54:56 UTC

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