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Re: REST descriptive services (was Re: [rest-discuss] REST description using WSDL)

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  • Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
    Hi Roy, ... I know that s true in theory, but I still don t know how to implement that in practice. For example, say that Amazon had a truly RESTful API. I
    Message 1 of 40 , Nov 3, 2005
      Hi Roy,

      On Nov 3, 2005, at 9:46 AM, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
      > On Nov 3, 2005, at 8:47 AM, Nic Ferrier wrote:
      > > One disadvantage to REST is that it can't be auto-discovered and
      > > turned into an API for a traditional language in quite the same
      > way as
      > > the WSDL/SOAP stack.
      >
      > You mean REST-based HTTP, right? We don't need to "auto-discover"
      > an HTTP interface because the communication API is a standard and
      > the parameters are defined by the current representation. We do
      > need to discover the initial resource, and that's exactly what
      > Yahoo, Google, and URIs written on napkins do for us. Any well-known
      > website for "finding services" would do the same.

      I know that's true in theory, but I still don't know how to implement
      that in practice.

      For example, say that Amazon had a truly RESTful API. I wanted to
      build an automatically-generated GUI client that would be able to
      query, browse, and display anything accessible from their datastore.

      Given just the original URL, how does my automated tool:
      a) Figure out how to make queries
      b) Discover which disjoint URI spaces might exist
      c) Unpack the different fields and datatypes from results

      For that matter, if I'm writing a REST web services, what information
      do I need to provide -- and where -- to enable such a tool?

      Maybe this is obvious to you, but it sure isn't to me, so I'd like to
      have something more actionable.

      Or are you merely saying that such tools are not interesting?

      -- Ernie P.
    • Mike Dierken
      ... I am responsible for the primary storage of offers, prices and inventory for all listings on the Amazon platform, worldwide. Well, almost... I m not
      Message 40 of 40 , Nov 9, 2005
        > > Ugh.
        > > I'll make sure stuff in my area doesn't do it this way.
        > > Next time I talk with a person from the cart group, I'll
        > bug them about it.
        >
        > What's your area, and how will you create and modify
        > resources (in contrast to CartModify)?
        I am responsible for the primary storage of offers, prices and inventory for
        all listings on the Amazon platform, worldwide.
        Well, almost... I'm not responsible for inventory that comes from Amazon
        fulfillment centers. And a large portion of Amazon offer information
        originates from fairly rich systems that send data to my services after
        running 'their' business rules (which products to offer, at what price,
        etc).
        My system is mainly merchant-facing and not web-facing - data is published
        out of my system into other 'caching layers'.
        There are many teams that provide many services, so this isn't a complete
        story by any means.
        But I'm hiring...

        The data is submitted by external sellers and merchants through bulk feeds
        and through browser-based tools. The "Sell Yours Here" button is an example
        of a browser based tool. (My team doesn't do the UI, but does own the
        business logic and accept/store/publish the listings). There are two
        'platforms' - Marketplace and Merchants. The Marketplace platform is open
        for registration here:
        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/subst/misc/sell-your-stuff.html and paying
        for a 'Pro Merchant' account gives access to bulk uploads. There are also
        third-party tools and services that do this integration for you. The
        Merchants platform is invite-only (at this time) and supports more complex
        feeds that allow for creating new products in the Amazon master catalog in
        bulk (these result in new details pages - ASINs) beyond just listing what is
        already there.

        >
        > And why do you think they did it that way? (Assuming it was
        > a reasoned design decision...)
        I don't know. I'd rather not guess out loud until I talk with them.
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