Obviously I’ve opened a can of worms and I’m getting a ton of helpful advice, pointers on reading, and discussions about who to talk to. The thing is, I have a day job, and it is going to take me a couple of weeks to read all this, talk to the right folks and educate myself. So I’m going to go offline, do that, and then come back and comment on what I’ve learned. As a believer in helping programmers, I think some of the comments about them not needing tools to understand the datagrams going back/forth are hasty, but at the same time I think what is meant is that it is harmful for the programmers not to EXPLICITLY understand what the wire format is. I completely agree with this. SOA relies on people understanding that what matters is the wire format they receive/return, not their code. Automatic proxies in this sense are dangerous and honestly if someone can show me that REST could eliminate the hideous complexity of WSDL and the horror that is SOAP section 5, that alone might make me a convert. Interestingly, if you do believe that programmers should understand the wire format because it is the contract, then one could argue that ASP.NET’s use of Forms and the enormous amount of HTML it hides from programmers is a big mistake. But I’m already deep into one digression so I’ll leave that thought for others. In either case, there is a basic point here that really resonates with me. If there is always a URL to a resource, then they can much more easily be aggregated, reused, assembled, displayed, and managed by others because they are so easy to share.