The new WCF Web APIs preview 4 is available and so far I’m very impressed with the quality of the release and the new features. Previous attempts by Microsoft to implement a HTTP/REST framework have been discouraging to say the least, but it seems that the technical debt they went into with the infamous WCF REST Starter Kit is being paid.
The REST Starter Kit library was built on top of a SOAP framework, so it was inevitable that the SOAP details would not leak all over the place. Things like the WCF Message class and its SOAP related stuff, (WS-Addressing headers, tight coupling with XML formats, etc) really get in the way once you want to do something more advanced than the simple Hello World app.
The new WCF Web APIs takes a completely different approach, instead of abstracting the web, it embraces it. Abstractions are good, otherwise we’d still be developing in assembler, but the web is one of the mediums that by only staying as close as possible to the metal you’ll be able to make the most of it.