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W3C, REST vs. SOAP, and where are we headed?

Posted by Dave Smith On 2/22/2007 04:28:00 PM 3 comments

Looks like some major battles are heating up... There is an upcoming W3C workshop: Workshop on Web of Services for Enterprise - and it is stirring up quite a few emotions and arguments and throwing them out onto the table for debate.

Is it to be a battle or reconciliation between REST and SOAP/WS-*?

Here's one take on it, from Jérôme Louvel: Will we reconcile REST, WS-* and SOA?

Or is the bigger question, what W3C's role should even be? Nick Gall of Gartner put a few pointed, incendiary statements into his position statement, which are drawing quite a bit of attention:


It is my position that the W3C should extricate itself from further direct work on SOAP, WDSL, or any other WS-* specifications and redirect its resources into evangelizing and standardizing identifiers, formats, and protocols that exemplify Web architectural principles. This includes educating enterprise application architects how to design "applications" that are "native" web applications.

It appeared that there are also a few drawing a line between "World Wide" and "Enterprise"... Or suggesting that W3C should abandon aspects of their pursuits and leave it up to industry.

Certainly the geospatial community will need to sit up and take note of where this leads... Having written my own WFS and WMS services and clients from scratch, though I am still no Web Services guru, I still had to wonder about the wisdom of the approaches being used in the whole paradigm. Are the current OGC standards really in line technologically with the vision that was originally expressed by Tim Berners-Lee? I think not. Are they compatible with some of the security and other needs of the community? I think not. Not the end of the world, but certainly much iterative refinement to get us where we ultimately need to be.

Stefan Tilkov at InfoQ provides a good roundup of many of the position papers. Will we see some simplification and resolution to the ever-emergent convoluted forest of Web Services and Standards?



3 Response for the " W3C, REST vs. SOAP, and where are we headed? "

  1. MES says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your posting.
    So, which is the best: W3C, REST or SOAP?

    I am still not sure to add those into my
    Globalwarming Awareness2007
    blog.

  2. Theodor Foerster says:

    Hi David,
    I am also thinking about, how REST-ful OGC Web Services are. I am pretty happy, that I am not the only one, who is struggeling with this question. By now I came to the conclusion, that in most cases OGC Services fit quite well to the REST approach. Because as far as I understood, REST is a simple HTTP based, stateless approach towards web service design. It does not inherit the heavy load of SOAP and WSDL and is thereby in most use cases really sufficient. So I would say, that OGC Services are REST-ful in this sense. WMS, WFS and WCS for instance provide a quite simple mechanism to retrieve resources over the Web.
    However as some specifications are now becoming more mature and be used in real enterprise scenarios, OGC does provide SOAP encodings for those services. Looking forward to discuss this issue in more detail.

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