Time to put Ontopia to REST?

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David Damen

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May 31, 2010, 11:56:16 AM5/31/10
to ontopia, rani.p...@spaceapplications.com
Dear fellow Topicmappers,

Space Applications Services is involved in a research project called
ULISSE (http://www.ulisse-space.eu/) in which we describe space
experiments and their results using Topic Maps. This allows us to
create a knowledge base with innovative navigation, filtering and
querying capabilities for the project. We chose Ontopia as the topic
maps engine to power this knowledge base.

While designing the overall ULISSE system, we identified the need for
a RESTful web interface to Ontopia. We approached the design of this
REST interface as a generic interface for accessing a topic maps
engine and is not Ontopia-specific. It could conceivably be
implemented over any Topic Maps engine. Currently, we have been
designing this interface internally and plan to start implementing it
during the summer at which point we will also make it available as
open source under the same license as Ontopia and hopefully/ideally as
a part of Ontopia.

Next steps:
========
(1) Our current design has been made available as a Google doc
(https://docs.google.com/document/edit?
id=1vJr2V7lrM5rJtRZA9yW03s3zXySHddPD9PLV35bCv9U&hl=en) to allow the
community to provide questions and comments.
(2) We plan to use Restlet (http://www.restlet.org/) to implement this
RESTful Topic Maps API. How should we practically integrate our work
with Ontopia? I suppose initially in the sandbox environment?


Best regards,
David Damen

P.S.: The styling of the design document in Google Docs is still being
worked on as its current state is a product of converting it from
Word.

Murray Altheim

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May 31, 2010, 5:45:14 PM5/31/10
to ont...@googlegroups.com
David Damen wrote:
[...]

> While designing the overall ULISSE system, we identified the need for
> a RESTful web interface to Ontopia. We approached the design of this
> REST interface as a generic interface for accessing a topic maps
> engine and is not Ontopia-specific. It could conceivably be
> implemented over any Topic Maps engine. Currently, we have been
> designing this interface internally and plan to start implementing it
> during the summer at which point we will also make it available as
> open source under the same license as Ontopia and hopefully/ideally as
> a part of Ontopia.
>
> Next steps:
> ========
> (1) Our current design has been made available as a Google doc
> (https://docs.google.com/document/edit?
> id=1vJr2V7lrM5rJtRZA9yW03s3zXySHddPD9PLV35bCv9U&hl=en) to allow the
> community to provide questions and comments.
> (2) We plan to use Restlet (http://www.restlet.org/) to implement this
> RESTful Topic Maps API. How should we practically integrate our work
> with Ontopia? I suppose initially in the sandbox environment?

Hi David,

I'm currently planning something similar for later this year and was
wondering if your request for questions and comments are more a sense
of gaining community feedback, or if the design is still in flux, i.e.,
is it pretty much a fixed entity or is there still room for change?

Thanks,

Murray

...........................................................................
Murray Altheim <murray10 at altheim dot com> === = =
http://www.altheim.com/murray/ = = ===
SGML Grease Monkey, Banjo Player, Wantanabe Zen Monk = = = =

Boundless wind and moon - the eye within eyes,
Inexhaustible heaven and earth - the light beyond light,
The willow dark, the flower bright - ten thousand houses,
Knock at any door - there's one who will respond.
-- The Blue Cliff Record

David Damen

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Jun 1, 2010, 2:00:34 AM6/1/10
to ontopia
Hello Murray,

First, our goal is indeed to get community feedback as we want this
API to be generic and useful outside of the specific project we need
it for.

Second, the design is not finalized yet, so we still have room to
change things based on the comments we get. We will start implementing
it early July otherwise we would get into planning problems. Though we
can keep on discussing changes and additions even then. If they are
minor we can probably still include them. If the changes would be
major, then we can consider creating a second version. The design
document contains a section on how the API could be versioned if
necessary.

Third, our implementation of the API will focus (at first) on those
functionalities we need the most for the project we are working on. So
if anyone wants to contribute to the implementation to get it complete
quicker, that would be very much appreciated.

If you have any questions about the API itself or about the design
decision, feel free to post them here.
I also created a shorter link to the design doc:
http://bit.ly/9NEP2x

Greetz,
David.
> Murray Altheim <murray10 at altheim dot com>                       ===  = =http://www.altheim.com/murray/                                    = =  ===

Lars Heuer

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Jun 1, 2010, 4:36:14 AM6/1/10
to ont...@googlegroups.com
Hi David,

[...]


> First, our goal is indeed to get community feedback as we want this
> API to be generic and useful outside of the specific project we need
> it for.

Wouldn't it make sense to move the protocol discussion to a neutral
mailing list like Infoloom [1]?

The implementation details can discussed here, though.

[1] <http://www.infoloom.com/mailman/listinfo/topicmapmail>

Best regards,
Lars
--
Semagia
<http://www.semagia.com/>

Lars Heuer

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Jun 1, 2010, 9:50:27 AM6/1/10
to David Damen
Hi David,

[...]


> (2) We plan to use Restlet (http://www.restlet.org/) to implement this
> RESTful Topic Maps API. How should we practically integrate our work
> with Ontopia? I suppose initially in the sandbox environment?

A while ago I was also involved with Restlet but now I've switched to
JAX-RS. Restlet provides a JAX-RS implementation as well (not sure if
it has matured in the meantime), so you want to use Restlet, you can
use its JAX-RS implementation and Restlet would just be one
implementation of many others.

Restlet is a proprietary API while JAX-RS provides more freedom: You
can use Apache Wink, RestEasy, Jersey etc...

Anyway, Restlet isn't a bad choice at all (a big plus is that it
provides native connectors which do not rely on Servlets), but I'd
prefer JAX-RS.

David Damen

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Jun 2, 2010, 3:32:39 AM6/2/10
to ontopia
Good call. Done!

I also added a Change History section to the doc so that anyone making
changes can list them there which makes it easier for people to see
what happened.

Greetz,
D.

David Damen

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Jun 2, 2010, 3:37:38 AM6/2/10
to ontopia
Hello Lars,

Thanks for mentioning JAX-RS, I had not heard of it.
I will have a look at it. From what I understand of your explanation
it would indeed seem like a better approach.
I'll keep you posted.

Greetz,
D.

Murray Altheim

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Jun 2, 2010, 5:31:23 AM6/2/10
to ont...@googlegroups.com
Lars Heuer wrote:
> Hi David,
>
> [...]
>> First, our goal is indeed to get community feedback as we want this
>> API to be generic and useful outside of the specific project we need
>> it for.
>
> Wouldn't it make sense to move the protocol discussion to a neutral
> mailing list like Infoloom [1]?
>
> The implementation details can discussed here, though.
>
> [1] <http://www.infoloom.com/mailman/listinfo/topicmapmail>

I've just opened up a thread with some questions on the RESTful Topic
Maps API over on topicmapmail for those interested.

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