Thursday, January 08, 2009

REST is dead long live the Web

REST met its demise on January 1, 2009, when it was wiped out by the catastrophic impact of the economic recession. REST is survived by its offspring: mashups, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and all other architectural approaches that depend on the web.

REST had begun to gain some traction in 2008 as the "next big thing" in technology, promoted by vendors, analysts and champions as being the only way forward, often by the same people who had promoted both EAI and Web Services as the only way forward. The economic downturn however has led to people looking at REST as nothing more than a new technology driven fad that was disconnected from the daily problem of a profitable business. Proponents would laud Google, Amazon and a small number of new startup companies as being the example that all the old crusty companies should follow.

These old crusty companies however have heard it all before, both from the .com boomers who were meant to replace them and from the technology vendors who have shipped them varying degrees of snake-oil over the year. Fortunately all is not doom and gloom for REST as these old crusty companies are doing exactly what they did with .com and looking at what they can do to drive down costs and increase profitability by using the web. As REST proponents shout about PUT/DELETE/POST and GET and whether anything from a browser can truly be "RESTful" because it doesn't have DELETE then the business users are looking at the Web, and more especially the services delivered via the Web as an excellent way of managing their IT costs.

Integrating these new Web delivered services into their enterprise often means using exactly the approach that REST proponents advise, but it is not REST that is important it is the Service. REST vainly tried to make itself the thing that people should care about but the sad reality was that its role was simply in helping people connect to the services that they use.

Already REST advocates are leaving the funeral a promoting the "web centric view" as being the only way of the future, but the crusty old companies continue to operate successfully often using systems that predate the web and chuckle at the cute naivety of these technology prophets.

Surviving REST are a series of technologies that at their core are about using the principles of REST hidden away in their dark hearts like a secret that must not be told. Mashups and SaaS often rely on REST but proclaim instead the business benefits, the productivity gains or the business service that they deliver. The biggest child of REST is the Web, it shouts as a colossus across the globe a shiny beacon of light which proclaims the success of its heritage, but no-one knows or cares about its parentage only about its usefulness.

So RIP REST the business never really knew you at all.

With deference to Anne

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Anonymous said...

as a REST lover, I am really happy at the REST is Dead phenom. .. I am tired of stupid idiotic people touting REST as the next big thing .. as an architecture I like REST and for a few specific scenarios I love it (for e.g If I am making a search engine ).. Other than that, I would just hope people get Interface Modelling from REST ...

Stefan Tilkov said...


If REST is dead, but the Web lives on, everythings fine with me.

Subbu Allamaraju said...

Huh. Very funny.

Josh Hoover said...

Catchy title. I suppose one could argue that most technologies miss THE point. Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, etc. have success with RESTful services because they have services people want to use. REST is a good approach for a number of problem spaces (imo) but it has little success if the services being delivered suck.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This seems to parallel SOA is Dead; Long Live Services by the Burton Group's Anne Thomas Manes.

Steve Jones said...


That is why I link to the post in deference to Anne ;)