Chapter 8

Deep Interoperability: Getting REST Right (Finally!)

One of the more fascinating aspects of the Information Revolution is that it's only been about 60 years or so that people have been programming computers—and that means that most of us of a certain age remember the bulk of the history of computing personally. We can remember long before the Internet—we know you youngsters out there would find that hard to believe—back to when programming was something real men (and precious few women) did with tools like paper strips and punch cards. Ah, those were the days!

What made computers so exciting back then wasn't that they were digital (although the notion that you could do anything with zeroes and ones was remarkable in its own right). What made them so fascinating was that they were programmable. We had machines at our disposal that would do anything we told them to, limited only by our imagination, or so it seemed. We could apply these computers to any task, where that application was the program we wrote for the machine.

The word application came to mean the computer program, which was how we instructed the computer to apply itself to solve whatever problem we were trying to solve. The program ran on one computer, and the computer did nothing else while it was running a program. Eventually we had time-sharing, which gave us the illusion that the computer could run many programs at once, but in reality, it was just really good at getting multiple programs to take turns. ...

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