Mark Little

REST-* announcement

Posted by Mark Little Sep 16, 2009

 

We formally announced REST-* at JBoss World. Yes, the name is tongue in cheek, but maybe just too subtle for some because it seems that there are those people out there who think this is another Evil Empire attempt to standardize things that don't need standardizing. So hopefully this will put that concern to rest (no pun intended!)

 

Despite what may be read in the media, REST-* isn't something driven by vendors for vendors and it's certainly not intended to become that. It's intended to be driven in a fully collaborative, community open source manner. Bill Burke is leading it for us and anyone who knows him will understand that he's the best guy to ensure that mission statement is retained!

 

Furthermore, it's not about defining new protocols (remember that hint at subtlety I mentioned above?) Yes, there are a couple of things that we reference that we've been doing in this area, but one of the main points about this whole effort is to document guidelines and best practices for doing things in a RESTful manner (both with and without HTTP). That might include security, management, etc. We're not going into this with the intention to define a new protocol stack as happened in WS-* (there goes that subtlety again!) Far from it! If the only thing we end up being is an aggregator for links to "standard" ways of accomplishing this or that then that's a successful outcome too.

 

And let's not forget why this was started: because our community wanted it. They kept running up against the same questions and lack of clear answers from various sources such as books, experts in this space and other resources. In some cases they'd get many different answers. Does that mean the answers don't exist? No. But if people who really understand REST can't agree on something then what hope is there for those who just want to go and use it? That's what REST-* is about: bringing together communities to try to come up with clear guidelines so that there's a place for everyone to go when they need those answers.

 

So why not get involved? That's the best way in which you (vendors, analysts, individuals etc.) could influence this effort. As with any open source effort, this needs to be driven by the community. It needs to be a truly collaborative effort and it's not going to be managed like a vendor driven standards effort. This is much more intended to be driven like JBoss or Apache communities.

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