Yesterday I posted what some may view as a rant, on how troublesome it is to get started with REST web services in .NET. It wasn't intended to be a rant so much as a cathartic walk through the research I had done and the decisions I had made, over several hours of trying to find an easy on-ramp to REST on .NET.
One of the things I mentioned was the fact that I downloaded the OpenRasta source, but was unable to build it due to a couple compiler errors. I had been in loose contact with Sebastien Lambla, the author of OpenRasta, about this situation over Twitter. Yesterday he read my post and, not undeservedly, jabbed me about not trying to fix the bug myself, instead opting to waste time "touring frameworks" to find what I need.
I got defensive, of course. I felt like I clearly conveyed my situation, and why I went "touring", rather than just settling on one and pushing through the hurdles. But looking back I can see that information is distributed throughout the post, and a skimmer would likely see only that I had looked at, and whiningly dismissed, each option in turn. Which is factual, though not really complete.
So here I will reiterate that I am:
- A REST noob
- A web services noob
- An ASP.NET noob
- An OSS noob
- A Git noob
And that doesn't even consider Sinatra, which brings to bear the additional facts that I am:
- A Ruby noob
- A Linux noob
I know my limitations. Or rather, I know where my knowledge ends. The reason I went "touring" is because I have ideas and I want to start to make them real. I didn't want to go burrowing into some rabbit hole not knowing if it was even the right one. I want to find a framework that minimizes the number of dimensions of my ignorance that are likely to limit or undermine my ability to produce something minimally functional.
There are a lot of things I am experienced with and good at, but the list above consists of things that I don't know enough about to know when I am making a mess for myself. Without guidance, I don't even know where to start. When OpenRasta wouldn't build, I didn't even bother to look at the code, because I didn't want to get lost in the weeds due to my multiple dimensions of ignorance. It turned out to be something that I probably could have handled, so shame on me for not at least taking a closer look. I'll take responsibility for that and tuck the critique away for future growth potential.
It's tough enough to be a noob about one thing. But ignorance compounds and grows exponentially. So it's downright painful and demoralizing to be on a path where, every time you hit a roadblock, you don't even know which of the multiple gaping holes in your experience is the culprit. It's far too easy to end up chasing down red herrings or just plain make matters worse for yourself in that situation. And I just want to get stuff done.
Fortunately for me, Sebastien says that the OpenRasta stable branch is actually stable now, so I can take another bash at that. I also learned just an hour after my last post went up that there are two more .NET REST frameworks to check out. RestPoint appears to be a young, attribute-based framework. And Nina claims to be a mature, Sinatra-inspired, lambda-based framework.
I'll admit that I really don't like attribute-based APIs, but compared to the challenges I'd face with all the other options I've looked at, I can probably stomach it. But I am a big fan of lambda-based APIs, and I'm still stoked about the Sinatra approach, so I'm pretty excited to take a look at Nina. It looks like it might just be what I was hoping Nancy would be.