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From Reinhard Poetz <reinh...@apache.org>
Subject [RT] RESTful web applications
Date Wed, 05 Dec 2007 13:00:27 GMT
Carsten Ziegeler wrote:
> I might be mistaken but I have the feeling that this discussion mixes
> things a little bit. Once thing is REST and another thing is javascript.
> I can use/follow one of them wihtout using/following the other.
> 
> It might be true that using AJAX makes developing RESTful applications
> easier, but again I can do the one without the other.

I agree with you but let me give you some reasoning that has lead to this misture:

The problem is that developing really RESTful applications isn't entirely 
possible with current web browsers, e.g. you can't use other methods than POST 
and GET in your forms. Additionally, you will have a hard life if you want to 
compete with full-blown web app frameworks like JSF, Wicket, Tapestry or our own 
cForms because all of them introduce some kind of abstraction layer (= 
server-side forms) on top.
On the one side this is handy, on the other side you fight against the nature of 
the web (HTTP) to some extend. The better a framework, the less problems you 
will face as web application developer.

One could argue now that if you use a framework that hides all those alleged 
limitations of HTTP fits your needs it doesn't matter whether you follow RESTful 
principles or not. However, IMO you lose a lot because if your web applications 
are implemented in a RESTful way, they are not only available for human users 
but also become useable by machines.

My second argument was that most of today's web applications are developed 
across two layers: One (bigger) part at the server's web-tier and one (smaller) 
part at the browser in the form of Javascript.

If you decide to go the RESTful way and want to develop web applications that 
can compete with those developed based on one of those full-blown web 
frameworks, you will also need Javascript (event-handling, editing of several 
resources on one page, etc.). Probably, in comparison that's a bit more, but 
still manageable. In addition I expect that RESTful applications will be less 
complex.

For me those are the reasons why I said that I have changed the camp and think 
that Stefano was right with his opinion that traditional web frameworks would 
become obsolete. But, in contrast to him, I think that Cocoon, which in some 
respect isn't 'traditional' at all, can become the ideal server-side counterpart 
for such RESTful web applications.

-- 
Reinhard Pötz                            Managing Director, {Indoqa} GmbH
                           http://www.indoqa.com/en/people/reinhard.poetz/

Member of the Apache Software Foundation
Apache Cocoon Committer, PMC member, PMC Chair        reinhard@apache.org
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