Give and take

I wasn’t looking for yet another “REST vs. Web Services” thread but Pete Lacey sucked me in (and many others) by hooking us with a hilarious bait post and since then he’s been pulling strongly on the line with very serious discussions on the topic so we haven’t been able to let go. The latest one left me a little puzzled though. In the security section Pete writes that it would make sense to use WS-Security indeed (and the SOAP envelope as a wrapper) if there was a need for message-level security rather than simply transport-level security. And then, barely catching his breath, he dismisses WS-Transfer and WS-Enumeration in the following paragraph on the basis that “these specifications effectively re-implement HTTP” (not really true for WS-Enumeration but let’s leave that aside). More importantly, how am I to reconcile this with the previous paragraph? Once I use WS-Security and the SOAP envelope, I can’t use pure HTTP anymore. But the patterns supported by HTTP are still very useful. That’s what WS-Transfer is for. That’s what SOAP is for more generally, providing a hook-up point for things like WS-Security that compose with the rest of the message. I don’t understand how Pete can concede that in some cases message-level security is useful but then take away the possibility to do a GET in these circumstances. Is he saying that for some reason the scenarios that justify message-level security are scenarios in which REST-style interactions don’t apply?


Filed under Everything, SOAP, Standards, Tech

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