Re: Web RPCs Considered Harmful

Some APIs are not developed in an open manner because they
are committed to a single architecture.

>Edd Dumbill <> writes:
>> Although you point out that data transfer protocols have the
>> opportunity of avoiding lock-in, I'm not sure it's an API vs data
>> transfer thing.  I can't see that it's any more difficult to
>> obfuscate a data format than an API.
>Yes, this is true for intentional lock-in and is already a well-known
>issue with XML, for example.
>For whatever social or political reasons, data formats seem to be
>developed and presented in a very open manner whereas APIs seem to be
>developed in isolation and then published, as Wes points out in his
>reply.  The problem here is _unintentional_ lock-in and fragmentation.
>If APIs were developed as openly as data formats, this would be a much
>smaller issue.
>As someone recently pointed out to me, designs tend to lead towards
>uses.  If you design something that encourages openness (like XML)
>you'll get it whereas if you design something that doesn't encourage
>openness (like RPCs for APIs) you won't get it.
>> One thing that I've not worked out yet--and which would be
>> instructive to do in order to further understand the issues--is the
>> flow of money in the brave new world of web APIs. What
>> products/services will be offered, to whom, and at what cost? That
>> will dictate as much as anything the level of openness. If nobody
>> can make money by being open then...
>Right now, the money is in the past investment and current momentum of
>RPCs, and will likely continue flowing that way for a while.
>Hopefully presentation of practical alternatives will start flowing
>money in that direction and will eventually resolve the issue.
>  -- Ken

Received on Wednesday, 17 May 2000 03:35:19 UTC