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InfoQ Homepage News InfoQ Interview: Tim Bray on Rails, REST, Java Dynamic Languages, and More

InfoQ Interview: Tim Bray on Rails, REST, Java Dynamic Languages, and More

At the Canada on Rails conference held earlier this year, InfoQ Ruby editor Obie Fernandez recorded an interview with Tim Bray, one of the inventors of XML and current Director of Web Technologies for Sun Microsystems. Tim did not hesitate to share his frank opinions regarding Ruby and Rails, JRuby, the impact of dynamic languages on web development, static versus dynamic typing, Sun's support of the JRuby project, Atom, and WS-* versus REST approaches to systems integration.

Watch InfoQ Interview with Tim Bray (36 minutes).

Don't miss Tim's take on the "WS-DeathStar", excerpted here:
The thing about the web is that if you look at it, it has no object models and it has no APIs. It’s just protocols all the way down. Some of the protocols are loose and sloppy like HTML, and some of them are extremely rigorous like TCP/IP. But if you look at the stack there’s no APIs, there’s protocols all the way down. I think that the thing that you take away from that, is that that is the way to build heterogeneous network locations.

A few other things that we learned from the web is that simple message exchange patterns are better; I mean HTTP has one message exchange pattern; I send you a message, you send me a message and the conversation is over. And it turns out to have incredibly good characteristics and so on.

Now, the other thing that came along around the same time was XML, and it provided a convenient lingua franca to put in the messages you’re going to send back and forth. The basic take-away is “Let’s adopt the architectural pattern of the web by specifying interfaces in terms of message exchange patterns, let’s make those message exchange patterns simple, let’s try and make statelessness possible and easy because that’s on the truth path to scaling. I think that idea has legs, it’s really the only way forward. The fact is that 10 years from now there’s still going to be Rails apps here and Java apps there and they’re going to have to talk to each other. The only way to do that is by sending messages back and forth. Somebody said to standardize that. And that led us down this insane trail and the destruction of WS*.
Tim Bray managed the Oxford English Dictionary project at the University of Waterloo in 1987-1989, co-founded Open Text Corporation (Nasdaq:OTEX) in 1989, and co-invented XML in 1996-98. Currently, he serves as Director of Web Technologies at Sun Microsystems, co-chairs the IETF "Atompub" working group, and publishes a popular weblog with thousands of subscribers.

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