[Update: more details from Noelios Technologies as well as a complete tutorial]
Much of the work that we have collaborated on in the past several months has been centered around PHP, but rest assured we have been focused on other technologies as well. Take Java, for example. A big congratulations goes out this week to Noelios Technologies, which just released a new bridge for Java and .NET.
Noelios Technologies is shipping a new version of the Restlet open source project, a lightweight REST framework for Java that includes the Restlet Extension for ADO.NET Data Services. The extension makes it easier for Java developers to take advantage of ADO.NET Data Services.
Microsoft collaborated with the France-based consulting services firm and provided funding to build this extension to the Restlet Framework. It’s always very exciting for me, as a French citizen living in the United States, to witness French companies like Noelios collaborating with Microsoft to develop new scenarios and bridges between different technologies. Noelios specializes in Web technologies like RESTful Web, Mobile Web, cloud computing, and Semantic Web, and offers commercial licenses and technical support plans for the Restlet Framework to customers around the world.
ADO.NET puts data sources within reach
For those who are relatively new to ADO.NET Data Services, it is a set of recently added .NET Framework features that provides a simple way to expose a wide range of data sources, such as relational databases, XML files, and so on, through a RESTful service interface. Formerly known as “Project Astoria,” ADO.NET Data Services defines a flexible addressing and query interface using a URL convention, and supports the usual resource manipulation methods for data sources, including the full range of Create, Read, Update, and Delete operations.
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 fully support ADO.NET Data Services, including the capability to create and consume data services directly from the development environment. If you want more information about ADO.NET Data Services, look here. I recommend the “How do I…” videos; the links are located on the right side of the page.
A closer look at the Restlet Extension architecture
The Restlet Extension for ADO.NET Data Services provides a high-level client API that extends the Restlet Framework’s core capability by providing access to remote data services that are hosted on ASP.NET servers or the Windows Azure cloud computing platform.
Java developers use the extension’s code generator to create Java classes that correspond to data entities exposed through ADO.NET Data Services. The Java application is then able to access the data via a simple method call. The runtime components in the Restlet engine and the extension take care of the communication between the Java client application and ADO.NET Data Services.
REST makes it all possible
The Restlet Extension project is a great example of the infinite possibilities that REST affords. Java developers using the Restlet Extension for ADO.NET Data Services can now connect their applications to a .NET platform with relative ease, which means more choices for Java developers and new opportunities for Microsoft.
Looking beyond just the Java-Microsoft bridge, REST is a truly compelling architecture model for enabling interoperability between all kinds of different platforms, regardless whether the applications are run on premise or in the cloud. We’ve recently presented several scenarios that leverage REST (“Viewing government data with Windows Azure and PHP: a cloud operability scenario using REST,” and “A new bridge for PHP developers to .NET through REST: Toolkit for PHP with ADO.NET Data Services”), and we plan to continue sharing similar scenarios between various technologies.
A big thanks to Stève Sfartz, Jerome Louvel and Thierry Boileau
A very big thanks goes out to my French colleague Stève Sfartz in the DPE Division at Microsoft France. Steve was instrumental in initiating and driving the collaboration during the Restlet Extension project. He has been working for quite some time with Noelios Technologies Cofounders Jerome Louvel and Thierry Boileau using the Restlet Framework to illustrate interoperability scenarios between Java and Microsoft technologies using REST.
If you’re interested in being part of or contributing to the Restlet community, visit www.restlet.org/community/.
And if you want more information about Java interoperability, take a look at the list of Java-Microsoft interoperability projects at www.interoperabilitybridges.com/projects/tag/Java.aspx. It includes Apache POI (OpenXML Java API), Apache Stonehenge (practical SOA/Web services interoperability across platforms), Azure .NET Services SDK for Java, and Eclipse Tools for Silverlight.
The Restlet Extension for ADO.NET Data Services represents yet another bridge added to our growing list of interoperability solutions, and we are very happy about this!
—Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Sr. Technical Evangelist