MIME-RPC (was Re: REST)

Paul Prescod paul@prescod.net
Wed, 16 Jan 2002 11:02:38 -0800


"S. Alexander Jacobson" wrote:
> 
> This sounds interesting, but there is no spec.

Although I don't agree with the tone (<grin>) I agree with the thrust of
Jeff Bone's message, that most of the specs are in place. 

Nevertheless, there is a need for conventions of what exactly to send
over the wire to represent structured data. I think that the REST
community needs to clarify this. 

I would have to think through MIME-RPC to determine its strengths and
weaknesses w.r.t. SOAP, "raw XML" etc. I'm trying to imagine using
MIME-RPC to represent a highly structured document like a purchase
order. Would you have a multi-part containing a multi-part containing a
multi-part and so forth? If so, you are re-inventing XML in an even more
(!) verbose syntax.

MIME-RPC's Rule 4. is not a good idea in my opinion.
MIME-RPC's Rule 6 and 7 are ugly and anyways, part of the REST
philosophy is that you shouldn't do function calls. You should use HTTP
methods.
MIME-RPC's numeric types should probably be XML Schema numeric types
rather than inventing Yet Another Type System.

What if two partners want to send highly structured data back and forth
using MIME-RPC. What formalism (i.e. schema) can they use to declare the
allowed values for the structure type? XML-haters (you may or may not
fall into this category) tend to forget that the schema (or DTD) is one
of the core concepts of XML and you can't have a replacement for XML
(e.g. S-expressions) without having a replacement for schemas/DTDs.

 Paul Prescod