Evidence continues to mount that developers can’ t be bothered with SOAP and the learning requirements associated with use of the standard for information interchange. It is often described as “lightweight”, but its RPC roots keep showing.
Developers are turning their backs on the standard. Folks that is, building interesting information splicing apps–semantically rich platforms like flickr and Amazon are being accessed by RESTful methods, not IBM/MS defined “XML Web Services” calls. Now it seems the Creative Commons is responding to RESTful demand. Or more pertinently-not responding to SOAP demand because there isn’t any.
Yesterday my partner Stephen issued a wake up call for middleware and tools vendors – give developers what they want, not what you think they should have.
I have yet to hear any vendor – not one – talk to me about how they help developers design, implement and consume RESTian web services.
I take my hat off to Robert McMillan at Network World for writing this story two years ago…
One big question is why haven’t IBM and Microsoft responded? The obvious answer is vested interest. When you have “bet the company” on a technology stack its kind of a drag to have to respond to something else. Its interesting that in a week when the bug guys, including Gartner, have trumpeted the arrival of UDDI 3.0, the world is quietly getting on with more interesting projects.
A more interesting question is probably where are the disruptive small tools players doing a better job of packaging REST for developers. Who is going to package and extend LAMP and hit a ball out of the park? Maybe someone like Uche.
The slavishness of a not invented here mentality is one of the defining characteristics of the tech industry. Another technology that some developers are actually using, but which big vendors and analyst firms like to describe as dead, is ebXML. Ed Dodds is tracking the standard as closely as anyone. In healthcare, but also automotive, and increasingly supply chain in Asia, ebXML is finding some traction.
ebXML and REST have both been labelled as “not Web Services”. But these technologies are both being adopted by some of the biggest names in ecommerce – GM, Amazon, and some of the coolest new semantic platforms (Bloglines, del.icio.us, flickr).
Whats a web service? Still a great question. But anyone that defines a Web Service using SOAP in the definition is missing out on where the action is. Distinctions between enterprise and “consumer” are breaking down. REST is evidently where that convergence is being played out, not WS-I.