Comparing the "Economics" of REST and RPC

Jeff Bone jbone@jump.net
Wed, 15 Aug 2001 21:31:53 -0500


"Roy T. Fielding" wrote:

> The difference in interface complexity is an interesting comparison.

I think it's really at the core of what's fundamentally and practically
significant about your observations.  Many of the other things seem to me to
be trees;  the issues which drive cost, integration opportunity, and
complexity --- and hence adoption --- seem to me to be define the forest.
Even a partial understanding of how architectural styles and their natural
programming models impact these things in complex systems would be a
tremendously significant result in computer science.

> You missed one variable, though -- time.  REST has problems with broken
> resource identifiers, but that is comparable to lost objects.

So:  do you think that's a fundamental problem in REST in the abstract, or an
artifact of the current instantiation?  That is, do you think there's any
*possible* way to deal with this problem that doesn't introduce brittleness
and non-scalability?

> Typical
> RPC-like architectures also have to deal with the fragile base class
> and interface versioning problems -- issues that are hidden behind the
> REST interface because the client doesn't have to deal with strong typing.

Woudn't you say that the various XML initiatives introduce some flavor of
typing, albeit typing "under the hood" where the interfaces are all
essentially foo(ANY)?

jb