Many Thanks, Mark

January 19th, 2008  |  Published in commentary, REST  |  1 Comment  |  Bookmark on

Mark Baker:

I’ve had enough. I’m not participating in any more “REST vs. SOAP” discussions. When I started on this mission to educate those who didn’t understand how the Web could help them, I figured it would be pretty straightforward; I’d explain it, they’d understand, and then we’d all skip away hand-in-hand whistling show tunes. Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, I ended up spending on the order of $100K of my own money on travel, as well as the opportunity cost of many hundreds of otherwise billable hours, for what is working out to be essentially nothing in return. If that weren’t enough, my health has suffered the past year or so, in ways I won’t get into here, but that I’m confident are in part attributable to the despair I’ve felt over this extended period of frustration.

Mark, I’m sorry to hear about your situation, and I certainly can’t blame you for your decision. As you say, the war really has been won, and you’ve more than earned a break. I saw you take many arrows — and I mean many arrows — over the years as you patiently explained REST to the world and worked hard to keep the wrong technical things from happening in the standards committees. For whatever it’s worth, I greatly admire and applaud your strength and your perseverance, and congratulate you on your achievements.

I also want to sincerely thank you for personally bringing REST to my attention in an email exchange way back around 2000-2001. Over the years REST has helped transform and improve the way I view and develop distributed systems, so much so that it played a big part in my decision to leave a long and well-established career in middleware development about a year ago and switch to developing software for an entirely different industry. In my current position, I’m thankfully free to use REST when and where it makes sense without having to fight all the stupid battles that you’ve understandably grown weary of.

An aside: the personal toll that Mark is suffering is most unfortunate. There’s simply no room in technical discussions for the negativity and hate that causes situations like that. Yet, despite the fact that the war is indeed over, and even though most of us now try to boringly proceed with useful logical discussions, there are still a few hostile jerks out there who didn’t get the memo. For example, I recently had to completely ban one such jackass from commenting here due to his continued personal attacks and insults, not only against me but against Mark, Tim Bray, and anyone else who supports REST. (Thankfully he adds no technical insight or knowledge whatsoever to either side of the discussion, so it’s no loss.) It saddens me that the destructive voices of hate like his can sometimes drive the bright, insightful and truly useful voices like Mark’s out of a technical conversation. It’s up to all of us to continuously try to prevent such situations, whether we’re discussing REST or some other topic.

Mark, thanks again for all your efforts. If there’s any way you think I can help, don’t hesitate to let me know.


  1. Mark Baker says:

    January 20th, 2008 at 3:25 pm (#)

    Thanks so much, Steve, that really means a lot.