Monday, October 24, 2005


Loose Coupling / Service Browser

Steve suggests I read the thread on Ted's blog -- another mega comment thread.

OK, in this one -- which is mainly centred on loose coupling -- I pretty much agree with all of Michi's points. I don't think that a restricted number of verbs provides better scalability per se, however there are other reasons to bend toward the REST approach. Having a convention whereby it is simple (and by this i mean *trivial*, no parsing of content/body) for intermediaries (ie proxies) to determine the cachability of a message is useful -- of course HTTP has several other mechanisms specifically for this.

The other major reasons to use REST style, imho, are debugging are portability. Debugging because you can use a browser to view the state easily -- provided all context can be provided in the URL. Portability in terms of, I can send URLs easily in an email, no explanation is necessary; I can send a link to a user / another team and no setup or extra software is needed. This, while not directly needed is *very* useful in an enterprise / cross team scenario.

What would make the WS world much easier would be a service browser -- this may exist, I've been out of the world for a litle while. The service browser would have as it's goal, making access of a WS as easy as a web page in a normal browser. Most toolkits will build a test web page on the server side for this type of testing, however:
This needn't be a fat client, most can be done with a web site (except maybe the authentication one, depending on various domain issues) though a firefox plugin would be ideal. In order to do some multi-stage scenarios, some scripting (e4x, say) would be cool. A full scripting engine / command line env is not required, just enough to do if statements and xpath read/writes. The ability to send someone a link / email would be great, it's a bit more complicated but could be done (either using a web site to store it or package up the whole interaction into a single page, say, like S5/XOXO presentations). Does this exist?

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