Some of the most important aspects of creating web based API, or any web based application is messaging and behavior - user experience. Back in 1999 when the HTTP 1.1 protocol was defined and the HTML 4.0.1 spec was released the web began to get more lively.
People stopped using World Wide Web and AOL interchangeably and we all jumped in our web dev boots, and rushed to inflate the bubble that would burst only a few years later.
courtesy of: Dana Summers, The Orlando Sentinel
All of those RFCs written by Fielding and gang seemed to melt away and get replaced by blinking text and Internet Explorer 5.0. I know I am generalizing; there we're a few outliers that challenged the norm and chose standards like the Netscape, but it seemed for the most part we used the web to showcase our madd skillz with using bloated back ground images and auto playing midi files for each "lucky" visitor <- I was, indeed, one of the worst violators of midi web attacks. The rule breaking was not limited to UI though, many services misused protocols and redefined established patterns in order to fit the web into antiquated business models. Maybe that history muddied the standards / protocol waters; I mean shouldn't every web developer / architect know how HTTP works? What if we as developers simply relied on a tool or framework like visual studio and .NET to handle all of that crazy HTTP stuff for us? Would you hire a "Web developer" that did not know what the difference between a GET and a POST was?
I was blessed to have had an opportunity to go to MSDN Dev Con yesterday. I was sitting in a session ASP .NET 4.0 road map given by Ben Scheirman. He said something during his presentation that struck a web cord with me, I'll paraphrase:
With ASP .NET MVC, Microsoft looked at other MVC based frameworks and put together a solid tool to let developers do what they want to do and let the .net framework help and not get in the way.For so long now, many .net developers have been using tools to write their HTML and CSS for them. We have ignored the basics. I chose ASP .NET MVC because of the flexibility of the pattern (not because of the Microsoft technology) and I truly enjoy the fact that standards and practices whet into the making of it (begin soapbox - I do not like how you can decorate your actions with HTTP verbs - would I ever do a post on a show? If so, wouldn't I be breaking the convention of the pattern? - end soapbox).
I find myself having to go back to things like RFC2616, Fielding's dissertation (when working on the RESTful API), and even the HTML spec daily. I find those tools far more valuable than an IDE or a managed framework.