The "REST vs. WS-* War" is Over?

, Jul 18, 2007

David Chappell:

To anybody who’s paying attention and who’s not a hopeless partisan, the war between REST and WS-* is over. The war ended in a truce rather than crushing victory for one side—it’s Korea, not World War II. The now-obvious truth is that both technologies have value, and both will be used going forward.

I couldn’t disagree more — I’m seeing this particular reasoning more and more often in the last few months:

A RESTful approach is a natural for data-oriented applications that focus on create/read/update/delete scenarios.

… with the implicit assumption that this restricts RESTful HTTP to an alternative applicable only for a subset of scenarios. To which I say: Bullshit.

Update: Peter Williams writes:

I expect that when all is said and done WS-* will still be around. But rather than as a vibrate technology platform, the way Mr Chappell seems to anticipate, I think it survive in a way far more like the way Cobol is still around today: as a zombie, unkillable and ready to eat the brain of anyone who wanders too close the legacy systems.

Update 2: Elliotte Rusty Harold:

That’s a nice analogy. Take it one step further though. WS-* is North Korea and REST is South Korea. While REST will go on to become an economic powerhouse with steadily increasing standards of living for all its citizens, WS-* is doomed to sixty+ years of starvation, poverty, tyranny, and defections until it eventually collapses from its own fundamental inadequacies and is absorbed into the more sensible policies of its neighbor to the South.

On July 18, 2007 5:05 PM, John D. Heintz said:

I disagree with using data (CRUD) vs. business process as the decision axis. That is a meaningless way to draw fake distinctions.

In a recent post (see link comment link) I argue that:

1) Client/Server Request/Response systems should use REST. 2) P2P and asynchronous message passing systems should use SOA.


On July 19, 2007 11:02 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

John, did you mean to write “message passing systems should use SOA”, or was that supposed to be “use SOAP”?

On July 23, 2007 5:15 PM, John D. Heintz said:


Thanks for your question. I plan on re-organizing my thoughts and publishing this idea again. More clearly this next time :)