Friday, November 9, 2007

Pragmatism vs Religion

Stefan posted notes on some of the presentations made at QCon SF. Going a bit off topic I'd like to say that Stefan does a really great job of providing a lot of links to various resources about REST, and Web Services. His blog reminds me of the great Eric's Pulse Java blog which unfortunately is now defunct. I don't agree with some things Stefan says but I love his blog nonetheless :-)

So back to Stefan's notes. First, a Sanjiva Weerawarana's talk was presented. In his talk Sanjiva is talking about pros and cons of REST and trying to say that WS-* may not be the dead horse yet. Going to the QCon with this presentation was quite an extraordinary thing to do I'd say.

One of the other talks Stefan presented was a Pete Lacey's talk. Here's the first note :

"Agrees with everything Steve said, disagrees with almost everything Sanjiva said".

and then

"scalability: both at runtime (1 million simultaneous clients) and ability to connect (500,000 to begin with)"

> Yea, you can't beat this argument, all right

and

"information accesible to one degree or the other to anyone: managers, shadow IT, proto-geeks and mom"

> Really ? One can just take any URI out there and share it with everyone ?

etc, etc...

Sigh...It's like listening to a broken record which starts from a beginning and then reaches the end and then gets back to the start, etc.

It's so typical. It also leads to an interesting observation.

When Web Services where starting to take on the world, most of people thinking of them as being a good step forward would likely say : REST ? Huh ? No way, it just does not work. One can remember Mark Baker trying to raise an awareness of REST on all the forums out there and being ignored nonetheless, what is he talking about ?

So some time has passed. Most of the people in the enterprise world are well aware now of what REST is. Enterprise is watching and trying to get something out of it. People start to understand that Web is powerful and rather than fight with it it's better to learn how to be closer to it. Vendors start providing tools making it easy to expose data to the WEB. Other things are happening.

It's a pragmatic approach. Web Services proponents are listening, learning, adapting and thinking. They understand Web matters. They'll be the first to adapt their products once they understand and see it's working.

So what about RESTafarians ? Do they listen to what Web Services proponents are saying to them ? No. Just No. REST wins. Period. Web Services are going to die. If you're with REST you'll scale, you'll manage versioning, extensibility in a much simpler way and you can share your information with everyone. And no one will call you being 'enterprisey' so you can afford facing everyone else on the beer party rather than being ignored.

When I was young I used to feel stronger with my older and bigger friends standing behind me.
It reminds me of RESTafarians just throwing at you all the time the same arguments while blissfully ignoring whatever one says to them about Big Web Services. REST is simple, Web Services are complex, just do everything with REST and take it easy. You can never lose if you have friends like WEB, Google and Yahoo standing behind you. Do Google's services scale naturally, because their resources are addressable or do they scale because of things like BigTable ? Who cares.

This is a religion. Can a religious person admit something may not be ideal in the religion. No. You're either in or out, if you admit it you're going to lose the trust of others...

Pragmatism leads to results being achieved. Religion leads to conflicts and wars.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Pragmatism is just one religion, imho.
In the name of pragmatism, people often ignore what doesn't suit them.
Their vision of pragmatism is metaphysical. Everybody has one's own.