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Name: John McDowall
Location: Redwood City, California, US

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

REST and SOAP: Fitting them into your toolbox

Two appropriately cautionary posts about SOAP and REST raise some good issues,
Jon Udell: Don't throw out the SOAP with the bathwater and
Steve Vinoski: SOAP vs REST: stop the madness.

I have always had the metaphor of a toolbox where I keep the set of tools I need to do my job. Taking it a little further I have seen the standards process (both informal and formal) as the series of events that shape and separate the tools in the toolbox. This shaping and separation ensures that the tools can work together and overlap enough to solve most problems. The struggle I am having is where do these tools fit in my toolbox?. Jon Udell asks the question:

Why must we make everything into a rivalry? Why can't we just enjoy the best of all worlds?

Today I use both for different purposes but do I want to support both for all customers - this becomes an economic issue that significantly reduces the enjoyment. If I support one over the other, what do I say to a CIO about why one versus the other should be in our mutual toolbox. Is it clear when to use SOAP and when to use REST - if it is clear then we have the best of both worlds - until then we need to keep working on shaping our tools.


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