The Web services concept is all about simplicity.Some industry luminaries, however, believe thatthe standards process has become unnecessarily complex. Tim Bray, whohas been called one of the"fathers of Web services" by some, isn't too happy with his child's development. He contends standards have become"bloated, opaque and insanely complex."
Enter Representational State Transfer -- or REST. It's an application development approachthat relies onexisting Internet protocols. The objective is to accelerate the development of Web servicesapplications by more fully leveraging current infrastructure, toolsand standards (such as HTTP). Amazon is one early adopter of this approach.
Unfortunately, REST already isbeing hammered by industry leaders who think it isinsufficiently rigorous. Some believe REST works well incertain, limitedapplications, but fails the test of inter-company interoperability. "You can build whatever you want and optimize it behind your own firewall," said Ron Schmelzer, who heads analyst firm ZapThink. "But if you want interoperability, then you have to agree to something. It's not meant to be optimal--it's what companies can agree to do together, given that they have very different products."
Many believe that current standards committees will be the ones to work out the thorny challenges of security,messaging and business process automation -- issues that REST (in their view) does not sufficiently address.Ourpresent Web servicesstandards efforts -- imperfect as they are -- may remain the only road to the service-oriented future.