The Minimum Abstraction

So much work is done trying to create abstractions on top of relational databases, it is something of a crime! The OGC’s ebRIM implementation of a catalogue, is basically an abstraction that sits on a database. The Hibernate framework is a Java abstraction that sits on a database. Ruby on Rails is an abstraction that sits on a database. It is almost as if we don’t like our databases! But they are so useful and flexible, let’s expose them, instead of hiding them.

Most “web services” are just method calls that do little more than re-write input parameters into SQL, and return the result as XML!

Why not cut out the middle man, I say? I propose the ur-web-service, just deploy this one web service and then Declare Victory in your corporate web services strategy:<your urlencoded SQL here>

Returns (for example):

 <Row type="string" name="first_name">Paul</Row>
 <Row type="string" name="last_name">Ramsey</Row>

For security, pull the HTTP_AUTH_USER and password from the HTTP header and use those to create the database connection, that way all the security beyond simple access is handled by the existing database security layer.

I think this approach (let’s call it the “brain dead approach”) re-invents the minimum number of wheels while providing the maximum quantity of data access flexibility. Perhaps I should write a book; no, a pamphlet; no, a leaflet; no, a business card; on “implementing brain dead web services for the enterprise”.

FOSS4G Program Review

It’s program review time for FOSS4G 2007! In the spirit of open source and Web 2.0, we are looking for the “wisdom of crowds” to help us choose the optimum conference program! The idea is that everyone who is planning on going to FOSS4G goes to the program review page, goes through a review session, and selects the session of most interest to them. The committee then uses that information to choose a program and assign things to appropriately sized rooms.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos

Remember, if you don’t participate, you lose out on complaining rights…

The program will be selected July 13, so get your votes in before then!

Deadlines and Such

“The prospect of one’s eminent demise wonderfully clarifies the mind’s focus.”
– Samuel Johnson

The FOSS4G 2007 call for presentations deadline has now come and gone, and never have I seen such a large and varied population of procrastinators assembling in one place. Check out the profile of submissions by day:

 2 | 2007-06-24
 2 | 2007-06-25
 8 | 2007-06-26
13 | 2007-06-27
39 | 2007-06-28
73 | 2007-06-29

Way to plan ahead guys! Half the presentations submitted in the last two days if the call.

The final tally of submissions was 213, which we will have to winnow down to 120 oral presentations and N posters. You can see the list of submissions as a KML file or an RSS feed.

Abstract Submission KML

I am way, way, way too amused by this:

Refractions @ FOSS4G

I think we have a great set of submissions this year, so I have my fingers crossed that lots of them make the cut.

Less than a week left until the close of the Call for Presentations and then we move on to the community program review process.