[Baypiggies] Do you think this would be cool open source? / web service discovery

Shannon -jj Behrens jjinux at gmail.com
Fri May 8 21:46:34 CEST 2009

On Thu, May 7, 2009 at 8:41 PM, Drew Perttula <drewp at bigasterisk.com> wrote:
> nar wrote:
>> -- BUT, the ability to point a SOAP proxy object at some WSDL and have it
>> automatically understand what functions are available to it and their
>> prototypes makes it so much more attractive to third party developers. In
>> terms of security, there's a variety of strategies you can utilize that are
>> part of the protocol rather than tacking them on at the end by hand.
> I've never experienced this 'automatically understand' phenomenon, so I
> can't say it's useless, but it sounds like the same thing we have in python.
> My python program can load any library and inspect the functions and classes
> that are available, and it could start calling them.
> But I have never written a program that does this; I read the docs instead.
> My program isn't trying to write itself; I'm writing it. In my experience,
> it's mostly tools like pydoc/epydoc/etc are benefiting from that part of
> python's introspection [1]. The point is, this is how I use REST web
> services too (e.g. twitter): I read the docs, and I don't care what format
> they're in as long as it's human readable. I have never felt like there's a
> "discovery" feature that's missing. When I'm scraping^W^Wthere aren't docs,
> I follow whatever examples I can find. This is how a ton of python code gets
> written, too.
> Anyway, there seems to be some work on an equivalent description format for
> URL-based web services called WADL. To see something live, make an arbitrary
> search on google, grab the resulting URL, paste it into
> http://tomayac.de/rest-describe/latest/RestDescribe.html# , and click
> 'Analyze URI'. Among other things, you could now pick 'generate code' on the
> right and click python. The result will be a python class called Search
> whose __init__ takes the arguments that the google search used. Obviously if
> google published a more-documented WADL description, you'd get more detail
> than just the current parameters and guesses about their types.
> [1] louie dispatcher is an interesting exception (among the libraries that I
> use). It adjusts its set of parameters based on what the function that's
> receiving the signal will accept.

"RESTful Web Services" wasn't yet overly enthusiastic about WADL.
WADL will be really cool when every Web service starts providing the
WADL file themselves.

Drew, you've coded in XML-RPC.  Wasn't that so much easier than REST?
I think that part of the reason it's easier is because more of the API
handling gruntwork can be done automatically.

This was argued about on my blog:
One guy argued that XML-RPC was convenient, but not correct.  I don't
buy his argument that to be correct, something has to be hard.
Working with types in Python is easy, but pure Python never lets me
write code that will coredump (uh, I think).

My two cents,

In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things
with great love. -- Mother Teresa

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