WS-* Advantages

, Jun 11, 2007

Stuart Charlton:

Here’s my (incomplete) list of scenarios of when you’d want an alternative to a RESTful protocol….

Very good list. Stu also quotes my three suggestions; taken out of context, one might believe that I believe them to be true. I don’t; here’s what I wrote in my original post:

I’ll make some guesses (note that these don’t reflect my opinions)

  1. WS-* is “protocol independent”, while REST (in all practical relevance) is tied to HTTP.

  2. The WS-* specs address “enterprise” concerns that REST/HTTP can’t handle

  3. It’s much easier to expose an existing system that has a “transactional” interface (in the TP monitor sense) via WS-* than via REST, since the latter requires a real architectural change and the former doesn’t

Are there any other benefits that WSDL/SOAP/WS-* is claimed to have over REST/HTTP?

For the record, I believe that (1) is an illusion since the HTTP protocol is just replaced with a different protocol, one that has no or at least a much worse design, and the protocol independence is an extremely leaky abstraction in real applications anyway; regarding (2), the specs that do address enterprise concerns are not yet widely adopted anyway and in many cases address something that doesn’t belong in the infrastructure layer anyway. I do believe that (3) is a valid point.

On June 11, 2007 8:15 AM, Stu Charlton said:

Yeah, as I was re-reading the entry later today I thought I may have not clarified that the 3 points I quoted were out of context, but you beat me to clarifying it ;-)

On June 12, 2007 10:56 AM, Marc de Graauw said:

See my comments in:

“We could reverse this argument: when do the advantages of REST (caching, linking and bookmarking to name some) matter less? For one of my customers I design part of the Dutch national healthcare exchange, which is used to exchange patient data between care providers. Nearly all messages involved include the patient id: therefore most messages are pretty unique…”

On June 12, 2007 4:29 PM, Patrick Logan said:

There is an advantage to using HTTP because there is a lot of software available for it, even though the end result may not use all the features of HTTP.