REST Questions

Mark Baker
Sat, 25 Aug 2001 15:40:40 -0400 (EDT)

> The terminology is interesting...if the Web's central technologies are
> URIs and HTTP then is a service provided without using either (e.g. XML
> over Jabber) a "Web Service" or just a "Jabber Service".

Until "Web Service" has an authoritative definition, it's going to be
difficult to answer questions like that. 8-O

> REST advocates
> might ask that those who choose not to use the Web infrastructure
> refrain from implying that they are.

Not my style.  Though IIRC, some were attempting to define "Web
Services" to exclude non-RPC based services.  I objected to that.

> The installed base for SMTP is huge but few structured information
> exchange services are deployed over it. For instance, if you want to
> tell someone at Google to index your site you would either use a web
> form (HTTP) or email a human being there. For some reason nobody ever
> thought to set up a structured email submission system. Will SOAP change
> this situation? 

I don't think SOAP will help that situation.

Where it might help in all this, is in unifying the syntax for
extending transfer semantics.  For whatever reason, RFC 822 style
headers, which are used in both HTTP and SMTP, never caught on in
terms of specifying semantics that were consistent when used with
each.  I don't know the history there, but it would be interesting
to find out.

Moving headers into SOAP, then binding SOAP to HTTP and SMTP,
may help here, if only because it's looking like it'll be the
same group of people doing both, so no NIH worries.  This *may*
also help lower the need for SMTP over time too.

> Under what circumstances is SMTP a better choice? I do believe there are
> a few such situations -- in particular when the only "interface" you
> have to a Web service is Pine and a once-a-day village-wide network
> connection.

This could be done with a SMTP/HTTP gateway, no?  The service could
be HTTP based, but an email gateway could be used to access it.

> But I do not think that authoring SOAP in Eudora for use
> over SMTP is really realistic.

It need not be SOAP.  Just type an URL into an email, and send
it to  That could mean GET.

> The one piece of software that every UI
> device has installed today is the browser, not the mail client. You use
> the browser to emulate the mail client, not the other way around.

First mail access, then mail delivery, then the world! Muhahaha!