At the Mix 2007 conference we announced an Astoria CTP which included two major pieces:  CTP bits you can download, install and run on your own systems and an experimental read only online service over a few sample (northwind, etc) sets of data that we hope will help us better understand the requirements and use cases of data interfaces in the web.  Since that initial CTP, we released an Astoria Silverlight 1.1 client library and this post is to announce that we have extended our online service to enable you to design and create your own experimental Astoria data service hosted by us. 

What exactly is a hosted Astoria Data Service

The Astoria online service is an experimental service that aims at exploring programming models for data on the web, offered in the form of a service. Using the Astoria online service, web developers can create custom structured data stores (up to 100MB in size) on the web and access them from anywhere that they have Internet access. These data services can then be the storage or data source for mashups, or the backing store for Internet enabled applications, or be applied to any other scenario where a rich data service on the web is required, independently of where it is hosted. 

How do I create and use my own Astoria Data Service

In order to create an Astoria data service all you need is a Microsoft Passport account.  To create a service simply navigate to the ‘Online Service’ page on http://astoria.mslivelabs.com , signin to your passport account and follow the directions on the website.  The site will walk you throw a 4 step process to design, create and assign credentials to your data service.  If the creation process succeeds, you will be given a URL to your new data service.  At this point, you can interact with the service using HTTP requests as described in detail in the document, ‘Using Microsoft Astoria’.  

Data services in this release use HTTP Basic authentication over an SSL connection and have a maximum capacity of 100MB.  Therefore, you must provide your user name and password along with each request you make to your data service.    The username and password is not your passport account credentials, but rather a user/pass you will be required to provide in order to create a data service.

For a visual tool you can use to interact with you service, please click here.  This tool provides a no frills, quick way to send HTTP GET, PUT, POST and DELETE requests to your new service.  To use the tool, change the URI text box to be the URI to your new service and click ‘Go’.

This release is an experimental one…

The Microsoft Codename "Astoria" Online Service is an experimental technology that is still under active development.  We would very much appreciate any feedback you have about the technology. While we will work to keep the service up and running and to inform you about upcoming changes to the service, because this is an experimental service under active development issues and breaking changes will probably occur and the service may be unavailable at any time; it might even cease to exist some day. So if the service isn’t working at the moment, we ask that you check our blog, submit feedback and try again at a later time.

For more information on Project Astoria please visit the Astoria web site at: http://astoria.mslivelabs.com

-Mike Flasko
Astoria Program Manager