Theresa O’Connor

Argumentum ad adminiculum: the WS-fallacy

Sam Ruby finds the advantage of REST over WS-* in (among other things) the fact that HTML can be authored by a mere mortal in a text editor, whereas WSDL etc. were clearly designed to be produced by tools and consumed by tools. I think this is a key point — the key point — one which I can’t emphasize enough: If I can’t quickly hack up a prototype using some combination of Emacs and curl, something is seriously wrong with your technology.

WS-* advocates usually don’t even see this as a problem, because they commit argumentum ad adminiculum:

They've forgotten that it's turtles all the way down: if the end-users aren't writing the markup, someone else is, namely, the tool developer. Tools don't grow on trees, and technology that makes the markup-writer's life easier (be they end-user or tool-developer) will be more widely adopted than those that make their life more difficult.

Tim Bray feel[s] guilty sometimes about the lull in [his] WS-Rants, because the forces of WS-Complexity and WS-Darkness are out there evangelizing tirelessly. As tool hackers, it falls to us to defend the simplicity and elegance of the style of the Web from these forces of WS-Complexity and WS-Darkness.