Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News REST Truer To The Web Than WS-*

REST Truer To The Web Than WS-*

This item in japanese

After the release of RESTeasy 1.0, Bill Burke spoke with Jack Vaughan on how he sees REST comparing to WS-*. In the introduction to the article, Jack starts by giving his views on the actual name: 'Web Services':

The ‘Web’ part of Web services was different, somewhat exploitative. The Web was a popular success, and you have to imagine someone thinking that if they named the latest software architecture after the Web, good things might happen. It wasn’t a big reach; Web services did tend to use the Web’s bread-and-butter protocol, HTTP.

In Jack's opinion (shared by many if previous InfoQ articles are anything to go by) some feel that REST is "truer to the spirit of the web than classic Web services employing XML and SOAP". According to Bill (and again, many others) "The value of REST architecture is that it takes better advantage of Web architecture" and that the reason behind this is rediscovering HTTP and "trying to understand how the web becomes so prevalent.”

Bill goes on to target the WS-* standards, saying that they're too much of a moving target:

Getting vendors to cooperate is hard – ask Apache.

(Let's ignore the fact that all standardization is hard and as a result takes time and effort, including Java and the work behind HTTP, or that efforts such as WSTF and Stonehenge show that Web Services vendors are willing to cooperate inside and outside of the successful standards bodies such as W3C and OASIS.)

But back to Jack, who says that irrespective of the struggles in standards suffered by WS-* (ignoring the fact that it hasn't exactly been plain sailing for the WWW) HTTP has "forged on" so that now everyone has some kind of HTTP support within their infrastructure, meaning that we don't need to worry about that aspect of interoperability. But ...

REST forgoes certain levels of interoperability, but that may have its advantages.

And Bill agrees:

What is cool about REST is you are focused on straight http. So instead of worrying about interoperability between vendors…you worry about interoperability between applications. You let http do the heavy lifting.

To conclude, Bill says that REST isn't anti-SOA (again something that others would definitely agree with), although it is "anti-WS-Star … and SOAP".

Rate this Article