Selected clarifications of idioms in RESTful Web Services, from conversation with Collin, the guy doing the Chinese translation. Maybe I should put these on a webpage like Joel did.
What did the supernova metaphor mean here? Especially what do supernova and meme refer to here?
"Supernova" is being used as a verb similar to "explode". A meme is an
idea. The same thing in simpler language might be:
The world of web services has gotten a lot of money and attention ever
since the architects of bloated systems spotted another simple idea
that they could make complicated and sell to big companies.
What does this metaphor mean? ["the Whoopee Cushion and Joy Buzzer of Internet protocols"]
The whoopie cushion and joy buzzer are cheap toys that you buy to play tricks on someone. The joy buzzer sends a vibration into someone's hand when you shake hands with them. The whoopie cushion is a bladder that's inflated and placed under a chair cushion; when someone sits in the chair it makes a fart noise. The implication is that HTTP and HTML are cheap and that to use them is to have a trick played on you.
Why did you say "That table looks kind of ridiculous"?
Because it has seems important but all it says is "DELETE deletes
something. GET gets something."
What does "moving parts" mean, exactly?
The moving parts of a mechanism are the parts of it that do the job,
as opposed to a piece of metal or plastic that holds them in place in
relation to each other.
What does "plumbing about ..." mean?
Plumbing is the opposite of "moving parts". It's the structure that
holds together the pieces that do the work. Here the built-in
cryptographic functions are the moving parts, and the Ruby code I
wrote is plumbing that makes them work in a certain way.
In chapter 4, there is a section titled "Resource-Oriented What Now?". I failed to figure out that "what now" means here. Can you explain the title?
It's an expression of incredulity. The idea is that I suddenly
introduced a new buzzword without justifying its meaning or explaining
why you should be excited about it (so I explain in that
section). I walk up to you and say "Resource Oriented Architecture!!"
and you might say "Resource oriented *what*, now?"
"Resource Oriented What?" would be similar and might be more familiar
to you, except the implication would be of confusion. Here, it's not
that the word "Architecture" is strange but that the whole phrase is
What does it mean by "it doesn't know a username from an ostrich"? Does the "ostrich" here have any special meaning?
No, it's just a random thing that's not a username.
Why did you say the stock quote web service is a toy?
It's a common application that's used to demonstrate new
devices, architectures, etc. But very few people really need or want
real-time stock quotes for random stocks. And if you do actually need
real-time stock quotes then you also need the ability to act on the
information, or it's just a pretty thing to look at: a toy.
Does dissed here mean critized?
Yes, it's slang from "disrespected." The implication is that I
just said [certain URIs] were bad rather than making a cogent argument against them.
Update: strangely (or not), nobody asked about "Don't Bogart the Benefits of REST."