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   RE: [xml-dev] Did Documents Win? No. Objects Just Couldn't GetTheir Ac

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> Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Did Documents Win? No. Objects Just Couldn't GetTheir Act Together.
> Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 08:41:43 -0600
> From: len.bullard@intergraph.com


> I think it comes down to explaining that network definitions
> (verbs for schlepping stuff) are never *meaningful*. It's like
> asking your mailman to do your taxes instead of moving the
> form to the IRS and bringing the payment back. (We may have some
> fun later merging this thread into Pragmatics (not what
> Box is talking about but the subfield of linguistics)).


I think that answers the original question - to the extent that we are converging on something like a Postal Service architecture, documents won -- the contents of an envelope are what matter (are meaningful), not the delivery mechanism.  That means that neither side in the original REST vs SOAP debate "won":


- Protocol neutrality is important - you don't really care whether the envelope came by plane or dogsled, UPS or USPS; it's just a cost vs  quality of service issue. (score one for the "HTTP is just a transport layer" crowd)

 - A globally understood *visible* naming / addressing system matters a lot (score one for REST)

- A document can be just a document, a resource representation, a service request, a service fufillment, or whatever.  (Take one away from the original SOAP/RPC style, score one for either REST or SOAP/document-literal style)

- POST is the only externally visible "verb" that matters (score one for SOAP 1.1, I suppose)

- Delivery confirmation (aka reliable messaging) has to be layered on top of the delivery mechanism, and it's a pain if you have to check for yourself whether your envelope made it thru all the intermediate hops  (score one for WS-*)

- Security comes via a complex combination of everything - transport-level physical security, secure packaging, encrypted content (not sure what that means for our little permathread, but at least the WS-* people realize that security is a hard problem)

- Semantics is a private understanding between the sender and receiver; it's none of the postal service's business what the contents of the envelope "mean", if anything. (One more reason to be skeptical of the more grandiose SemWeb visions,  I suppose)

- At the end of the chain, it's the receiver's job to figure out what to do with the document, whatever the sender's intent, whatever the document's conformance to some format specification, whatever "object" was serialized to produce it, etc. (Score one for Walter Perry).



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