Chapter 7. Beyond the Flame Wars

The debate within the web services community is often heated and at times intemperate as the advocates of SOAP-based and REST-style services tout the merits of one approach and rail against the demerits of the other. Whatever the dramatic appeal of a SOAP versus REST conflict, the two approaches can coexist peacefully and productively. There is no hard choice here—no either one or the other but not both. Each approach has its appeal, and either is better than legacy approaches to distributed software systems. A quick look at the history of distributed systems is one way to gain perspective on the matter.

A Very Short History of Web Services

Web services evolved from the RPC (Remote Procedure Call) mechanism in DCE (Distributed Computing Environment), a framework for software development that emerged in the early 1990s. DCE included a distributed file system (DCE/DFS) and a Kerberos-based authentication system. Although DCE has its origins in the Unix world, Microsoft quickly did its own implementation known as MSRPC, which in turn served as the infrastructure for interprocess communication in Windows. Microsoft’s COM/OLE (Common Object Model/Object Linking and Embedding) technologies and services were built on a DCE/RPC foundation. The first-generation frameworks for distributed-object systems, CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) and Microsoft’s DCOM (Distributed COM), are anchored in the DCE/RPC procedural framework. Java RMI also derives ...

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