Putting REST to the Test
I have read a lot about RESTful web services and their benefits over traditional SOAP/WSDL services. Heck, I even did a Q&A in our Geocortex newsletter about it. Well, recently we had an opportunity to design and build a new AVL (Automated Vehicle Location) system that incorporated REST webservices to be consumed by IMF. The process went amazingly well. Conceptualizing and designing the REST URL interfaces was so much easier than designing and implementing a full SOAP API. Designing REST services forces you to think in a more natural way about the entities (Nouns) in the system rather than the actions (Verbs). Implementation and integration was almost as easy as the design as we didn't need to worry about all the supporting infrastructure of SOAP. I'm not suggesting that REST is the future and that SOAP is dead -- it totally depends on the application. However, in this case we tried a new approach and it was a big success. I'll provide more technical details if anyone is interested.