Friday Oct 17, 2008

SOAP and REST - both equally important to Sun


"Sun moving away from SOAP to embrace REST" is the misleading title of an article recently published in SD Times. The article provides a good introduction to JAX-RS and Jersey. But I really wonder what motivated the author of this article to use this title. This blog, hopefully, provides a better context.

Jersey is the Reference Implementation of Java API for RESTful Web Services (JAX-RS, JSR 311) and was released earlier this week. The headline indicates that Sun is leaving SOAP and will support REST. The debate between REST and SOAP is not new and there are religious camps on both sides (even within Sun). And that's completely understandable because each technology has its own merits and demerits. But just because a new JSR aimed to make RESTful Web services easy in the Java platform is released, it does not mean Sun Microsystems is leaving existing technology in trenches.

The addition of Jersey to Sun's software portfolio makes the Web services stack from GlassFish community a more compelling and comprehensive offering. This is in contrast  to "moving away" from SOAP as indicated by the title. As a matter of fact, Jersey will be included as part of Metro soon, the Web Services stack of GlassFish. And then you can use JAX-WS (or Metro) if you like to use SOAP or JAX-RS (or Jersey) if you prefer RESTful Web services. It's all about a offering choice to the community instead of showing a direction.

Here are some data points for JAX-WS:
  • The JAX-WS 2.0 specification was released on May 11, 2006. There have been couple of maintenance releases since then and another one brewing.
  • Parts of Metro, the implementation of JAX-WS, are currently baked into GlassFish, embeddable in JBoss WS Stack, and also part of Oracle Weblogic and IBM Websphere.
  • The implementation stack is mature and used in several key customer deployments. 
  • JAX-WS is already included in Java SE 6 and hence available to a much wider audience.
  • As opposed to "moving away", JAX-WS 2.2 (currently being worked upon) will be included in Java EE 6 platform, as will Jersey be.
So I believe both SOAP and REST are here to stay, at least in the near future. And Sun Microsystems is committed to support them!

You still think Sun is moving away from SOAP ?

It seems a personal preference is interpreted as Sun's disinvestment in SOAP. It's good to have increased readership but not at the cost of misleading headlines :)

Technorati: jax-ws rest webservices metro sdtimes glassfish
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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.


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