mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Monday, 7 February 2005

The Map is Not the Territory

Filed under: Standards Web Web Services

Werner makes an excellent point;

[W]e need to continue to take care that we do not consider The Model to be The Truth. The web based internet is a massive organic process that is similar to Nature, and we can develop models to observe its phenomena. We can use these models to build our tools on, but we have keep in mind that we cannot use the model force the organic process to behave the way we want it to.

We must learn from Physics that models are imperfect and only an approximation of something that is much larger, and more complex that we can imagine. Models can be improved or replaced by others, and competing models can exist at the same time.

But in the end they are just models. They help us understand Nature, but they are not Nature itself.

Not much I can add, except that it cuts both ways; people who deride REST because it was after-the-fact are missing the point. Likewise, those who see REST as inviolate don’t see the big picture either.


3 Comments

Robert Sayre said:

Oh, totally. If you’re trying to accomplish something the Web isn’t very good at, using unRESTful designs can be a smart way to go. It’s just that most people have a reductive view of what the Web is good at :)

Monday, February 7 2005 at 3:49 AM

Mark Baker said:

I can think of folks who fit into the former category, but can’t think of any in the latter. Anyhow, I agree 100% with Werner. See; http://www.markbaker.ca/2002/09/Blog/2004/12/18#2004-12-rest-as-model

Monday, February 7 2005 at 7:36 AM

Paul Downey said:

Yup. Agree 100%. REST is neat, and so is ‘messaging’, but ultimately they’re just simple metaphores for something which is likely to be far more /organic/.

Tuesday, February 8 2005 at 3:02 AM

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