protocol7 archive
18 March 2008

REST inevitably complex?

Turned out I had to cancel my trip to QCon London due to a customer engagement. Too bad as the conference seems to have been as good as the previous QCons. Oh well, there will probably be more. For my colleges at the conference, their most discussed topic seems to have been the REST track, something that makes me very happy.

My colleague Johan blogged on the inevitable increase in complexity in technologies as they become established. While I agree that REST will likely also see this type of development, I have some hopes for it not being as bad as for the WS-* cycle. For one, I don’t see the curve that Johan shows as having a constant amplitude but rather having an asymptotic curve.

For example, I think WS-* got some things right where CORBA went wrong (text based protocol, (mis)use an established protocol). This type of curve will never actually reach the golden middle way, but at least we’re getting closer. Will we be hyping some new technology-de-jour beyond REST? Sure.

Also, some (like me) would claim that REST builds on a stronger foundation then CORBA and WS-* do, and therefore will have an easier time growing to fulfill a greater set of requirements. In addition, REST did not come out the enterprisey dungeons of IBM and friends but rather from a pragmatic community and one quite wise man. Hopefully, this community can continue to foster REST and limit the inevitable complexity. For example, I don’t see REST repeating mistakes as worship transport independence (while only embracing HTTP anyways), XML level encryption or distributed transactions.

tags: REST - WS - ws-star