WS-*? Stop. Think. REST

For the past several months I’ve been focused on determining what web services specifications should be supported by forthcoming platform services in EMC’s ECM offerings (i.e. its Documentum brand software). Collectively these specs are often referred to as WS-* (or WS-DeathStar).

Earlier today David Chappell posted his latest Opinari piece, “SOA and the Reality of Reuse.” (David Ing added his thoughts here.)

Stating the obvious: Chasing reuse isn’t the same thing as reuse itself. Services are only as good as their consumption, and certainly service delivery existed long before SOAP arrived–Simple Object Access Protocol–and was subsequently buried under a mountain of next-generation specs (WS-*). What Roy Fielding described as Representational State Transfer (REST) has enabled this long-standing service consumption.

To be clear, I’m not against WS-* or necessarily for REST, but rather I’m concerned about consumption, reuse and business value. I expect for my customers to be closely involved in determining how services should be expressed for their consumption in enterprise applications. Sometimes I do question the agendas in play where service orientation is concerned. While WS-* focuses on truly complex distributed applications development and systems, I believe that a host of simpler solutions can avoid non-essential complexity by pursuing alternative means such as XML RPC, RSD, RSS, Atom, etc. When are uber-SOA platforms required and when are they overkill? (These are both questions to answer by a separate set of posts to be certain.)

Anyway, for whatever reason, a T-shirt idea popped into my head later this afternoon. Picture a simple red cotton T-shirt with an image of nameless pain reliever bottle on the front and the following text in white on the back: “WS-*? Stop. Think. REST.” (Yes, the play on certain Tylenol TV commercials is intentional.)

I guess my next move is to see how to work with a T-shirt shop like Threadless to get my idea realized. In the meantime, please consider this idea to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.