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1 localhost commented Trackback

One major advantage of REST is MIME type. With SOAP the MIME type is effectively a useless bit of metadata that tells you nothing of the envelope's contents. REST says "here's an image" or "here's a web page." SOAP structures are generally expected to be very strictly defined according to a XML Schema. Consequently, it's very difficult to change the schema and not break every part of the flow of a service.

 
REST excels in using well-defined types that are loosely interpreted. Take XHTML for example. It can markup many types of documents AND can be extended via various other XML namespaces. SOAP payloads cannot benefit from this (very easily).
 
And don't overlook caching: it's a huge benefit. If something isn't changing, why make the client go through all of the hoops (and they are so much more annoying than most pro-RPC folks will admit) of refetching otherwise good data?
 
Outside of the update debate, there aren't really any big controversies with which verbs to use. If RPC over SOAP had any sort of standardization (isn't that what SOA is supposed to be about?) you would have EXACTLY the same debates: "this update() method, why can I not update only a small part of my object with it?"

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You ask, "Why would Amazon and Yahoo not use REST?". My belief is that the primary reason for this is simply that there are many developers out there that know how to do things the old-fashioned way, i.e., POST, GET, POST, ... . Amazon, Yahoo, and the like are looking to maximize the understandability of their APIs to the average web developer, today. Furthermore I bet that most of the developers that are creating clients to consume these services are using a Web Browser to "test" and explore the APIs. Since browsers lack support for the rest of the HTTP common interface (e.g., PUT, DELETE, HEAD) they are not very useful when working with a truly RESTful service.

 
I think that we are still pretty early in the hype-adoption-maturity curve with REST as a technology and as tooling for REST improves more and more folks will use it.
 
On a final note, Amazon's S3 storage service is pretty darn RESTful.

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