Sunday, April 05, 2009

LARubyConf 2009 - Dan Yoder - "Resource Oriented Architectures and Why It Matters"

Lead-off man Dan Yoder started off the day's proceedings at the Los Angeles Ruby Conference (LARubyConf) 2009, with a presentation on Ruby Waves called "Resource Oriented Architectures and Why It Matters". Despite not getting the same attention that some Ruby frameworks have, the Waves team has been tirelessly working on it. According to Dan, the foundation of Waves has gotten pretty solid. Waves adds a lot of support for things over and above just handling http requests. So what is Waves really? It is a layer on top of Rack for defining application frameworks.

The next thing beyond MVC is to help developers write more rest compliant apps.

But do the constraints in REST really buy anything? Actually, yes.

One nice thing about internet-based development, is that the existing infrastructure is already there like proxies, load balancers etc.

But why does it work? At the heart are the constraints.

The web is NOT MVC
- so why do we use it so often for web apps
- piggybacking off of the web browser

Example of busting out of the browser - RSS feeds from blogs and podcasts

OAuth SMART Proxies

Video Search
- edge caching

Resource Oriented Architecture (ROA) is just distributed objects, loosely based on Roy Fielding's definition

ROA solves an old problem, that there have been many attempts at solving previously with CORBA, COM, etc. But this time will be different.

Learning From Past Mistakes
- be platform neutral
- be wire neutral (any protocol)
- define meta-object protocols
- good performance, use edge and client caching
- allow layered architectures

Waves and ROA

Rich DSL for HTTP Requests

on (:get, ['location'],
:query => {:lat => /\d{4}/, :long => /\d{4}/},
:accept => [:json, :xml])

But it is still Ruby!

The One File Waves App
- influenced by Sinatra
- not quite as clean as Sinatra


A Resource DSL Example

class Blog
include Waves::Resource::Server

resource :list, :expires => 3.days, ['blogs'] do
get { model.find_all}


schema :element, ['schema', 'blog', '2009-03'] do
attributes :title, String, :descriptions => String
link :entries, :list => Story


What's with that "schema" block? This example also defines the RDF schema for the resource to provide machine-discoverability. That is one very cool aspect of ROA that I personally have not seen addressed much within the Ruby community.

Waves is really coming along, and I am planning to explore it a bit in the coming weeks. For more info, go check out

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