REST on the Web

, Jun 13, 2007

Leonard Richardson:

It’s true that the success of the web doesn’t reflect success on every aspect of RESTful web services, but the overlap is pretty large, and the web’s success certainly doesn’t stem from any systematic repudiation of RESTful principles.

+1. Regardless of the WS vs. SOAP discussion, I also claim that a Web application that’s built using following REST principles is always better than one violating it. Duh! you might say, and you’d be right; still, I don’t believe everyone agrees. In an interview I did with WS advocate Sanjiva Weerawarana, I asked him to concede at least this small point:

InfoQ: While it’s true that there are lots of non-RESTful usages of the Web out there, I don’t see how that reduces its value. Would you agree that a RESTful Web application, whether application-to-application or application-to-browser, is better than a non-RESTful one?

SW: No way; I’d never give it a carte blanche +1 like that! Better in what sense? Are you asking me to agree that having a fixed interface and moving all the interaction semantic understanding to media types is better for all scenarios? No, I don’t agree. There are definitely cases where that’s awesome (such as the Web), but there are other cases where that isn’t so hot.