Imagine this: A REST microkernel

Here at QCon, I realised that the Googly “cloud as middleware” track was probably not going to deliver what I want to discover, which is where Google thinks it is going with all its diverse offerings, being mostly about third-party services such as Yahoo Pipes and Amazon Web Services with which I am already familiar. I therefore went instead to what proved to be a fascinating session on programming REST (REpresentational State Transfer). Peter Rodgers of 1060 Research spoke about his NetKernel, which is a kind of REST runtime. “I’m typing byte code”, he explained, as he put together URI strings that performed various operations. He observed that much computing can be reduced to doing something to some resource with another resource, and that this can be expressed as a URI. Here’s an example:

Active:toUpper+operand@ffcpl:/demo/data.xml

In effect this is functional programming via URIs.

Unfortunately I had to leave a little before the end of the session; but one of the points I notice from the 1060 research site is that URI-based programming is tailor-made for caching results, with potentially improved performance.

A thought-provoking session; my quick reaction is that he may be onto something.

The session was packed; I’m not sure if this is because folk were interested specifically in NetKernel, or whether like me they just went along because REST is a focus of activity right now.

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