REST Questions

Jeff Bone jbone@jump.net
Sat, 25 Aug 2001 14:31:34 -0500


Clay Shirky wrote:

> See, this is where I get off the REST bus. I say "Can you do REST over
> SMTP?", knowing that there is a big move in the Web Services world to
> use both SMTP and Jabber as transport mechanisms and wondering if that
> is incompatible with RESTfulness, and you say "Yes, sure you can", by
> which you mean "No, absolutely not, what you need to do instead is
> replace SMTP with HTTP."

So here's a thought.  The term "REpresentational State Transfer" is
broadly suggestive of a general technique that's not specific to HTTP.
Roy coined the term to specifically refer to the architecture of "the Web"
--- whatever that means, does that mean anything I can refer to with a URI
--- but in use it seems pretty tightly-bound to HTTP.

I don't think there's any harm in thinking about modeling things in the
style and semantics of HTTP, but using other transports.  Perhaps we need
a more generic term for REST-in-the-abstract vs. REST-bound-to-HTTP.

jb