A few months ago, Alex Barnett excitedly told me about a project he was working on with Pablo Castro, of the Microsoft SQL Server team. Like most things brilliant and game-changing, their invention is shockingly simple. As Alex explained it, project codename "Astoria" would enable anyone to expose (and query/update) a SQL Server database, in the cloud, via a REST API...yup, simple URLs...over HTTP.

"Wait a second. Wait a second. Wait a second," I said, shaking my head and playing for time to catch up and catch on as Alex sat there, his eyes alive with creative energy. "Are you telling me your program allows me to query and potentially update a database in the cloud as easily as I can now query one directly, using my query editor? And my queries will be expressed with something like http://foo/bar/blah...?" He nodded, "Yes."

I GET it. I can REST.

Several weeks after our initial meeting, Alex and I sat down with Pablo, Taylor, Dave, and Bob to discuss the possibility of using a snapshot of our beta social bookmarking solution, Microsoft.Community Tagspace, as a sample dataset for the unveiling of Astoria, at Mix07. On Monday, Pablo did just that.

Ooooh, I feel like the cat presenting its prey to its favorite humans on their back porch...

Click Here, for more information about Astoria, examples using a snapshot of the Tagspace store, links to documentation, downloads, videos and, other goodies. Alex rocks.

NOTE: The Tagspace dataset to which the Astoria service points is NOT the live Tagspace database. For Tagspace, we are planning to expose our own REST API, with initially gated access and Read-only access, in the near future. Our initial REST implementation will differ, syntactically and significantly, from Astoria's. But you can bet you last two bucks that we'll be keeping a close eye on Astoria and continuously evaluating how we can leverage it to improve the data programmability model around Tagspace. To keep track of this and other Tagspace and Microsoft.Community developments and to weigh in with your valuable feedback, I encourage you to subscribe to this blog and comment, with abandon.