Friday, September 17, 2004


I invented a new game for web service engineers called Cave Man. Here are the rules:
1. The game lasts for an hour.
2. When speaking to each other, all engineers are only allowed to use the following verbs: GET, PUT, DELETE and CREATE.
3. All predicates must be spoken in Latin or a language other than your native tongue.
4. Nouns and adjectives may be used but only if they have been written on a common whiteboard first.

Ok, I’m only joking – but you do realize that this is the game the web service engineers are being told to play with business systems.

What do I think of WS-Transfer? Easy, we have now created a vocabulary of four common words. At this pace, we should catch up to the pre-historic cave man in about 20-25 more years.

Don Box makes an interesting comment. He basically states that using four verbs can be dangerous. And I agree. However, I am of the opinion that the WS-* spec teams are doing a severe disservice to the community by releasing these specifications without also identifying the best practices. In my opinion, it is no longer acceptable to release paradigm changing specifications without also releasing an implementation or best practice guide to go with it.

In regard to the spec itself, I think it is fine. I don't agree with Ole' man Baker that we are just re-inventing HTTP. Pure REST has its place and SOAP has its place. Standardizing verbs is good. I was a bit curious why the group didn't create a 'verb extension' or 'verb introduction' mechanism, but rather just 'hardcoded' a handful of verbs.

IMHO, the creation of four verbs is a good thing. It will make people think about why WS-Transfer is limited, which will lead discussions on why an 'Enterprise Vocabulary' is needed.

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