December 18, 2006

What's a disruptive innovation?

On the Yahoo! SOA mailing list, I read the following quote...

REST is _not_ a silver bullet, remote invocation is _not_ a challenge and REST is only disruptive in that it stops people looking for the true disruption which will come when we consider remote invocation a true commodity.

And couldn't help myself but feeling that, in 1972, this might read as:
"Relations are _not_ a silver bullet, data management is _not_ a challenge, and relational databases are only disruptive in that they stop people looking for the true disruption which will come when we consider data management a true commodity."

I liken REST to relational databases as a disruptive innovation, with Fielding's thesis akin to Codd's paper in 1970. And yet relations still generate debate, confusion, and doubt to this day, with the weary, battle-scarred evangelists, tired after 30 years of debate, still trying to promote logic & clarity in the IT industry.

Ultimately, these debates won't change whether REST is or isn't a disruptive innovation -- the market determines that. I think in one sense, it's already proven to be so via the success of web. In the systems integration realm, it's mostly a matter of the market shaking out the right complements that are required to take REST effective, where established approaches rule. (WS-* is an established approach, btw, old message exchange wine in new XML bottles.)

Posted by stu at December 18, 2006 04:38 PM