Tuesday, 20 June 2006
Microsoft's RESTful Robots
A friend (who shall remain anonymous) pointed me to Microsoft’s announcement today regarding their foray into robotics, of all things. My eyes glazed over until they rested upon the Microsoft Robotics Application Model;
The term “REST” was originated by Roy Fielding. It abstracts, and to a degree, formalizes the Web architecture. REST builds on the notion introduced by Tim Berners-Lee that a URI refers to a resource and all interactions with that resource happens by exchanging state. One can exemplify a resource as a person and a picture of that person as a particular representation. Representations can change over time and be expressed in a variety of data formats. For example, a representation of a person can be rendered as a picture, a textural description, an audio clip, etc. The only way to interact with resources is through the exchange of state representations. The separation of state and behavior of a resource is a key component in achieving loose coupling between communicating components.
While many people think of REST as unique to HTTP, this is not the case. The principles of REST (and Web architecture in general) can be implemented in any number of ways but today HTTP is the only protocol that effectively allows one to think in terms of REST: It supports URIs and provide shared semantics for how to interact with resources.
Microsoft Robotics Studio Runtime brings together the REST and Web services worlds by adopting the REST model as its foundation but extending it with structured data representation and event notifications from the Web Services world. In order to do this, DSS defines an application model that incorporates the notion of event notification and structured data manipulation into a REST world and uses it as part of its service model…
Veerrry interesting. There will undoubtedly be debate on whether it’s necessary to fuse REST and WS-* together in this manner (especially in the face of things like APP and GData), but it does show that there are folks inside of MSFT thinking waaay outside of the Indigo box (there’s a pun in there somewhere, I’m sure).
UPDATE: They’ve now published the WSAP document [word].