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We know such services can scale to enormous size, because they already do. What is it but a remote service for querying a massive database and getting back a formatted response?We don’t normally think of web sites as “services,” because that’s programming talk and a web site’s ultimate client is a human, but services are what they are. You can harness this power for programmable applications if you work with the Web instead of against it, if you don’t bury its unique power under layers of abstraction.Actually, to say that HTTP was designed for is to pay it a pretty big compliment.HTTP and HTML have been called “the Whoopee Cushion and Joy Buzzer of Internet protocols, only comprehensible as elaborate practical jokes”—and that’s by someone who That’s it.

Today’s “web service” architectures reinvent or ignore every feature that makes the Web successful. We know the technologies behind the Web can drive useful remote services, because those services exist and we use them every day.You connected to the server, gave it the path to a document, and then the server sent you the contents of that document. It looked like a featureless rip-off of more sophisticated file transfer protocols like FTP. With tongue only slightly in cheek we can say that HTTP is uniquely well suited to distributed Internet applications because it has no features to speak of. In a twist straight out of a kung-fu movie,: the two basic design decisions that made HTTP an improvement on its rivals, and that keep it scalable up to today’s mega-sites.Many of the features lacking in HTTP 0.9 have since turned out to be unnecessary or counterproductive. Most of the rest were implemented in the 1.0 and 1.1 revisions of the protocol.The other two technologies essential to the success of the Web, URIs and HTML (and, later, XML), are also simple in important senses.Obviously, these “simple” technologies are powerful enough to give us the Web and the applications we use on it.

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