Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Is John Udell Confused?

Is John Udell Confused? If not, I am.

A while back, a librarian wrote to me asking how she could integrate her OPAC with LibraryLookup. I investigated and found that her vendor's implementation was based on a Java applet, and there was no way to link into it. As I mentioned to Eric Rudder and Don Box at a meeting in Redmond, this librarian later posted to a mailing list that her OPAC couldn't support LibraryLookup because it was built on the "wrong kind" of software, where "wrong" meant -- though she wouldn't have called it this -- non-RESTful. For her, the richer experience of that Java applet was a poor tradeoff, since it precluded LibraryLookup's lightweight style of integration.

Is John confusing open systems with "a RESTful" approach? I might be confused... but it sounds like the librarian had an open integration problem - not something that necessarily demanded a RESTful solution. Let's see... if the year was 1993, the librarian may have had a 'CORBAful' issue... or if it was 1990, she had a 'DCE-ful' issue. Maybe what John is trying to say is that we finally have a quick & easy way to store off profile information - - kind of like the 'Win.ini' file in early versions of Windows. It smells like John is wanting to solve some problem with REST, or I could be confused.

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