Gartner and REST

, Nov 20, 2008

Finally, it seems Gartner starts recommending REST ("WOA") officially. Nick Gall writes:

Because of such consensus, the note can put forward Gartner positions such as:

  • Interfaces based on WS-* specifications should be constrained by WOA, especially the generic interface constraints.
  • More often than not, the WS-* protocol toolkit is unconsciously misused to create needlessly specialized interfaces.
  • Application neutrality should be the principal goal of an interface, and implementation neutrality should be a secondary goal.

While I can’t share the entire note with the blogosphere, I can share a couple of highlights — first and foremost the official Gartner definition of Web-Oriented Architecture:

WOA is an architectural substyle of SOA that integrates systems and users via a web of globally linked hypermedia based on the architecture of the Web. This architecture emphasizes generality of interfaces (UIs and APIs) to achieve global network effects through five fundamental generic interface constraints:

  1. Identification of resources
  2. Manipulation of resources through representations
  3. Self-descriptive messages
  4. Hypermedia as the engine of application state
  5. Application neutrality

It's great to see this because it will definitely raise awareness about REST – whatever it's called – in large enterprises that are influenced by Gartner (i.e., almost all of them). I don't really buy the "WOA is different because it adds a fifth constraint" idea, but it's obvious that Gartner needs to continue inventing new terms to be innovative :-)

On November 20, 2008 9:32 AM, Martin Probst said:

See for an explanation of all Gartner related activity…

On November 20, 2008 9:38 AM, Stefan Tilkov Author Profile Page said:

Thanks, that made my day. Also note

On November 20, 2008 2:19 PM, said:

“I don’t really buy the “WOA is different because it adds a fifth constraint” idea, but it’s obvious that Gartner needs to continue inventing new terms to be innovative :-)”

This seems to happen with every good idea and I do think it does damage. In RESTs case we now have the “Web” style that Webber and others have been talking about, ROA and now WOA. Plus we have the vendor view of REST which from what I’ve seen has nothing to do with the core ideas.

Personally I don’t mind having multiple terms, as long as there’s a reason for the change of emphasis/language and the differences are explained but it will just lead to confusion. Not sure thats what is going on here though.

To be fair though as an active REST watcher I can say that it has left itself open to this, not entirely sure the message that REST practitioners have put out to the wider community has been coherent and suited to drawing people in and it looks like others have moved in to fill in the gap.