REST Will Soon Fade into Oblivion

Like other promising technologies I can confidently state that REST will soon head to the technological graveyard. Why? The use of REST seems to be based on opinions instead of rules. I don’t understand how REST turned into such a mishmash of divergent technologies when there is actually a well documented thesis written on the subject. We are in an era where loose interpretation of REST causes confusion for companies trying to implement the architectural style.

The REST technology leaders are dictating the market direction of REST on faulty material or hearsay. If only I had a nickel for every time I have been told that my arguments on proper REST architecture are academic, I would be rich. When people mention the term REST API, I automatically know they have no clue about REST. The sad part is that this term is repeated on site after site, blog after blog. Representational State Transfer Application Programing Interface? Seriously? This ill-conceived grouping of acronyms I predict will bury REST.

An architectural style originally developed for exploiting the Internet for data access turned into a mechanism that creates functional interfaces is a sure sign that REST is headed towards extinction, which usually happens when there is a complete misunderstanding of an architecture’s intent. Unfortunately, REST is now used as another buzz acronym and to pad resumes.

However, REST is simply an architectural style developed to transfer data in a usable fashion utilizing HTTP. The evidence of REST implementation lies in the verbs used, and its usage similarity to the database domain. Create, Retrieve, Update, and Delete in the database domain. POST, GET, PUT, and DELETE in the HTTP domain.

How much more evidence is needed to convey that REST is for data, and not for interfaces and function calls? Nevertheless, market leaders are force fitting REST as the new SOAP. I surmise this is because most of the architects are former SOAP architects. The SOAP architects are using analogies they are most familiar with – SOAP.

SOAP is not REST. SOAP is functional. REST is data. Regrettably, we will never see implementations that reflect the academic argument because the market drivers have already dictated that REST is the new SOAP. Consequently, REST extinction in 5 years or fewer is indeed possible; unless the IT industry reevaluates its understanding of Roy Fielding’s academic thesis as intended in real-world applications.

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