In Defense of REST

I’m not sure why REST needs defending but apparently it does

Dare steps in and provides a solid background and Tim follows up

What is really interesting about REST from my perspective (and not everyone will agree) is that since it’s REST you can actually solve real problems without getting permission from a standards board.

It’s pretty easy to distrust standards bodies. Especially new standards bodies. The RSS wars were a joke. Atom took far too long to become standardized.

At Wordcamp this weekend one of the developers was complaining about brain damage in XMLRPC – god only knows why we’re still using this train wreck.

I noted that WordPress should abandon XMLRPC and just use REST. They seem to be headed in that direction anyway (by their own admission).

Their feedback was that they didn’t want to go through the Atom standardization process to extend the format to their specific needs.

You know what? You don’t need permission. Just write a documented protocol taking into consideration current REST best practices and ship it.

If people are using the spec and find value then it will eventually become a standard.

I’m a bit biased of course because Spinn3r is based on REST.

We burn about 40-50Mbit 24/7 indexing RSS and HTML via GET. We have tuned our own protocol stack within our crawler to be fast as hell and just as efficient.

Could I do this with SOAP? No way! I’ve had to gut and rewrite our HTTP and XML support a number of times now and while it’s not fun at least with REST it’s possible.

REST is complicated enough as it is… UTF-8 is not as straight forward as you would like. XML encoding issues do arise in production when you’re trying to squeeze maximum performance out of your code.

… and while REST is easy we STILL have customers who have problems getting up and running with Spinn3r.

We had to ship a reference client about six months ago that implements REST for our customers directly.

These guys are smart too… if they’re having problems with REST then SOAP/XMLRPC would be impossible.



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