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Re: AWWW second edition, maybe -- terminology

From: algermissen1971 <algermissen1971@me.com>
Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2013 22:33:00 +0200
Cc: Nick Gall <nick.gall@gmail.com>, www-tag <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-id: <83A7E671-35AF-4EE7-A698-4FACA91F2D73@me.com>
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
On 07.06.2013, at 19:26, Henry S. Thompson <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:

> algermissen1971 writes:
>> ...
>> "the use of URIs to perform actions" honestly makes me shiver - do we want to go back on square one?
> I would like to understand exactly what's troubling you here.  Is it
> that
> 1) You don't think it makes sense to talk about "[using URIs] to
>    perform actions", e.g. when we buy things online;
> 2) You agree it makes sense, but you don't think it's an important
>    case to discuss at all/architecturally;
> 3) You agree it makes sense, but you think such use is
>    uninterestingly different (architecturally) from the "get me some
>    information" case;
> 4) None of the above.

Clearly 4). I think it is actively harmful to make such statements because they do not reflect the design of the architectural style but instead re-inforce the very misconecptions that people have such a hard time getting rid of when trying to make the transition from RPC-style thinking to REST.

In a RESTful architecture you do not 'perform actions', you transfer representations.

While this might seem like irrelevant given the actual observable outcome, it is indeed an extremely important distinction to make because the approach towards expectations made by the client is very different. 'perform an action' implies that you have some sort of control over the server that resembels message sender and receiver being inside a single compilation unit. In a networked system you do not get to have that control and this is e.g. why POST is limited to mean "take this stuff and process it". It is important that the client (developer) understands that on the Web the expectation is indeed limited to that.

Why battle WS-death star for 10 years only to place SOAPy stuff in a AWWW vol1 successor in 2013, eh?


> Thanks,
> ht
> -- 
>       Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
>      10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, SCOTLAND -- (44) 131 650-4440
>                Fax: (44) 131 650-4587, 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]
Received on Saturday, 8 June 2013 01:26:48 UTC

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