His latest two posts are worth reading as well, but I can't help but comment on his strawman characterization of ReST.
I should probably start out by pointing out that the title of this post is a lie. By definition, RESTful protocols can not be truly SQL-like because they depend on Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs aka URLs) for identifying resources. URIs on the Web are really just URLs and URLs are really just hierarchical paths to a particular resource similar to the paths on your local file system (e.g. /users/mark/bobapples, A:\Temp\car.jpeg). Fundamentally URIs identify a single resource or aset of resources. On the other hand, SQL is primarily about dealing with relational data which meansyou write queries that span multiple tables (i.e. resources). A syntax for addressing single resources (i.e. URLs/URIs) is fundamentally incompatible with a query language that operates over multiple resources. This was one ofthe primary reasons the W3C created XQuery even though we already had XPath.
That said, being able to perform sorting, filtering, and aggregate operations over a single set of resources via a URI is extremely useful and is a fundamental aspect of the Web today. As Sam Ruby points out in his blog post Etymology, a search results page is fundamentally RESTful even though its URI identifies a query as opposed to a specific resource or set of resources [although you could get meta and say it identifies the set of resources that meet your search criteria].
I don't think there's any harm in the mis-characterization of ReST and the detail of the post about the two query systems from Google and Microsoft is rather interesting, but I was surprised at his misunderstanding since I thought he knew better. Dare does have an out - as any good program manager does - by saying "... you could get meta...", so I will take that opportunity and get meta.
- "URIs on the Web are really just URLs and URLs are really just hierarchical paths to a particular resource [...]" - no, they are not really just hierarchical paths. They are an identifier. Sometimes they are a 'path', but usually not.
- "Fundamentally URIs identify a single resource or a set of resources." - always just a single resource.
- "A syntax for addressing single resources (i.e. URLs/URIs) is fundamentally incompatible with a query language that operates over multiple resources." - this is core missed direction in the explanation of ReST. The term 'resource' as applied within RDBMS isn't the same as 'resource' as applied within ReST. A ReST 'resource' is the view from the outside, and datbase 'resources' are the data elements on the inside. Read up on Data on the Outside vs. Data on the Inside by Pat Helland (not exactly relevant to this post, but a catchy title).
- "a search results page is fundamentally RESTful even though its URI identifies a query as opposed to a specific resource or set of resources [although you could get meta and say it identifies the set of resources that meet your search criteria]." - the URI actually does identify the results (as Dare suggests) and not the query. The URI is the query. This means you can operate on the set of data that are the results - you could delete them, retrieve them, replace them, etc.
I'm not suggesting that URI are better than or a replacement for queries, just that they are different. They do different things and are both very useful, and when you think in terms of "a URI is a query" you think of the processing of the implementation and miss out on some aspects of Web architecture which naturally arise when you think of "a URI identifies the results".