I ran across a spout yesterday about the uniform interface in REST. Actually, it is more of an attack on resource-oriented architecture (ROA) with the usual sideswipes at REST. Like most criticisms of my work, it got me thinking… not just about what was being criticized (in this case, the lack of REST constraint enforcement in HTTP), but how to fix the underlying problem that a lot of folks simply don’t understand the differences between software architecture and implementation, let alone between architectural styles and software architecture.

A software architecture is an abstraction of the run-time elements of a software system during some phase of its operation. A system may be composed of many levels of abstraction and many phases of operation, each with its own software architecture.

Let’s start with a simple (yet surprisingly complex) example. My blog is a network-based application — a specific grouping of functionality and behavior that allows me to accomplish a desired task using multiple computers that communicate via a network. That’s what application means in our industry: applying computing to accomplish a given task.