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But That's Not RESTful!

Many years ago a former boss of mine (Peter Ford, I believe) told me "Anytime someone says to you 'that won't scale' during a design argument what you should hear is 'Yo Mama!'". [Ed. Note: For my non-American reader(s) "Yo Mama!" is a generic American insult, it is considered very tame and would be acceptable, if said jokingly, in a professional environment.] Lately I've run into another design argument that needs to join the "Yo Mama!" equivalency list – "That's not RESTful!"

Of course both "That won't scale" and "That's not RESTful" can be meaningful statements if they are immediately backed up with detailed analysis that demonstrates how the objectionable proposal doesn't meet some reasonable definition of the cited quality, e.g. scale or RESTfulness. But, oddly enough, I have never run into anyone who says "That's not RESTful" who then starts quoting chapter and verse from Roy's Phd. Thesis. No, generally I find any time someone says "That's not RESTful" what they really mean is "I don't like that design!" However saying "I don't like that design" doesn't win many arguments, so instead you hear "That's not RESTful". Unless you're me, in which case you hear "Yo Mama!"

[N.B. RESTifarians like Mark Baker are, I suspect, fully capable of quoting from Roy's PhD. thesis but I'm not insane enough to argue REST with them. In fact, I generally avoid the term REST because it seems have become more an object of religious devotion than an architectural style. You will usually only hear me talking about noun/verb separation, the power of names and CRUD.]

4 Responses to But That's Not RESTful!

  1. Mark Baker says:

    I don’t get the point of the post, Yaron. It smells a bit like a strawman to me. Can you point to somebody saying the equivalent of “That’s not RESTful” as if it were prima facie, a bad thing (if that’s what you’re getting at?).

  2. Administrator says:

    Mark, I think you misread my intent. The article isn’t about REST per say. It’s more about pointing out that REST has become such an ingrained part of the technical culture (even though most people I know who talk about REST don’t have a bloody clue what it actually is and how it actually works) that it’s joined the list of “Things to say when you’re losing a technical argument” (hat tip to Manuel).

  3. Mark Baker says:

    Ok, thanks Yaron. I personally haven’t seen that happen, but I’ll watch for it.

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