May 192011

Colectica Repository is used as both a registry and resolution service for various pieces of identified metadata. Both Colectica Designer and Web communicate with it to perform all of the neat tasks listed on their features pages. Users can communicate with these same service calls to create their own applications and leverage all of this built in functionality. By default, we supply a SOAP 1.2 WS-* and net.tcp endpoints to communicate with the server remotely. These are the industry heavyweights in enterprise SOA architecture.

Recently we had a client request to use the SOAP 1.1 WS-Basic profile. Due to the Repository’s decoupled design, we were able to add this very quickly. All of these endpoints use a secure transport channel such as SSL/TLS. The quickness of adding new access methods got me thinking what other types of endpoints and serializations might be useful. Adding both SPARQL and REST immediately came to mind.

Colectica Repository already has an excellent relationship and set based querying system. Adding a SPARQL endpoint would allow users to use a standardized query language to process those relationships and associated data. The RDF serialization would be a subset of the official DDI object model. When the DDI urn format is agreed upon I will look into this more. If you like this idea, tell us you would like to see feature ticket #1181 implemented.

REST services make it very convenient for users on various platforms to create access clients. Since all metadata stored in the Repository are identified consistently it should be simple to make a basic access model. Exposing some of the Repository’s more advanced functions would be a bit more challenging, but for simple resolution this would work well. REST could also make use of already existing HTTP caching, as published versions of the metadata do not change.

Aside from native DDI 3, JSON is an obvious candidate for the serialization format, but speed is always a concern. I have been looking at several new binary serialization formats:

  • Google Protocol Buffers: Protocol buffers are fast, simple, compact, and cross platform. I have seen benchmarks where they are faster than the net.tcp binary serialization we currently ship.
  • BSON: Binary JSON is another option and is very similar to the protocol buffers, but is not tied to a schema.

I’ve added REST support as feature ticket #1182, again let us know if that interests you. The next version of Colectica Repository now additionally supports SOAP 1.1, are there any other ways that you would like to access the services?


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