Deprecating a Web Service

Once upon a time, I worked for a company on a project to build a Web service stack. Prior to that, I wrote a number of articles for that company, including one that wound up being used as the basis for versioning efforts across several industry leaders (the latter based on conversations and personal e-mails). After all these years, people still come to me and ask how to inform consumers of the interface that the version they use is about to go away. Today, Amazon SimpleDB provided a great example of how to inform customers of a new interface. The announcement was well done, short, and was communicated to all users via e-mail as well as posted publicly on the Internet. Amazon provided this statement, which I think is a great way to communicate that things are about to change as well as why they are changing:

Dear Amazon SimpleDB Developers,

In response to direct customer feedback, we announced today the release of count and long-running query support for our Select API. We have consistently heard that query syntax more like SQL simplifies the transition to SimpleDB, as well as lowering concerns surrounding lock-in. Thus, after much deliberation, we have decided to focus this and future development efforts on the Select API and begin the process of deprecating the existing WSDL.

In the coming weeks, we will be publishing a new WSDL version which excludes the Query and QueryWithAttributes APIs. In addition, a migration guide will be released to help SimpleDB developers make the transition. Upon release of this new WSDL and migration guide, we will begin a 15-month deprecation process for the 2007-11-07 WSDL. During this 15-month interval, we will continue to support, but add no new functionality to the 2007-11-07 WSDL. At the end of 15 months, it will no longer be available. Today’s announcement is intended to give as much advance notice as possible to our developer community of our intentions. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us via the forums.


The Amazon Web Services Team

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