Friday Mar 27, 2009

REST for the Weary

I came across a good InformationWeek article, InformationWeek Analytics: State Of SOA, that I thought summarized nicely some common perceptions of SOA, its use, and trends that developers and customers should be tuned into, notably that there is an increased interest in "path of least resistance" approaches using the technology of the Web, i.e. a RESTful style.  One especially on target quote was:

"The REST philosophy has simplicity going for it, and when resources get tight, faster and easier usually wins. However, the two styles can complement each other; it doesn't have to be a case of one or the other. A REST-based approach is a natural for data-oriented applications that focus on simple database look-up scenarios. Many apps fit this model, especially on the Web."

I take two things away from that, the first that it isn't WS-\* vs REST, they can and should co-exist, but the other is that REST is well suited to data-oriented applications or situations where you are accessing or manipulating a resource rather than calling a service.  I can think of many data oriented scenarios (think MySQL) where simple RESTful APIs would be ideal for developers building web applications.

So if one is weary of traditional WS-\* SOA and is looking for RESTful alternatives (the term WOA, coined by Gartner's Nick Gall several years ago, is sometimes used), where can they turn?  Take a look at the Jersey project in the GlassFish community on java.net.  Jersey is where the reference implementation of JSR-311, or JAX-RS, has been developed and can be used on its own or easily obtained as part of GlassFish v3 Prelude.

You can also take a look at this blog or this blog to learn more, or plan on attending JavaOne or CommunityOne this year where there will be sessions, labs, and BOFs on Jersey, Identity Services, and more things RESTful.

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kevinschmidt

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