Easy REST server w/o views or controllers?


#1

Hi all,

I’m in the processing of refactoring Puppet[1]'s networking, which
currently uses xmlrpc over https but I’m moving to REST, and I’m
hoping to be able to rely largely on existing code for the new work.

The weird situation with Puppet is that I’m only interested in
computer-computer communication and in most cases have no interest in
multiple forms of a given object, so I don’t think I need views, and
I’m not using a db backend, which means I don’t need an ORM like
ActiveRecord. Basically, I just need the controllers and routing, I
think.

I’ve looked around at most of the frameworks I can find, including
Nitro, Merb, Camping, and Rails, and all of them seem to assume that
I care deeply about databases and HTML, while really all I want to do
is make it easy to provide a REST-like interface for my software to
use to talk to itself.

I plan on using ActiveResource[2] for the clients, and I’d love
something that was just as easy but handled the server side for me.
I’ve got 9 different namespaces in xmlrpc right now, but I want it to
be easy to add new controller types, of course.

One of my biggest concerns with whatever I use is that it be easy to
distribute, since Puppet runs on all popular platforms (e.g., os x,
debian, ubuntu, rhel, fedora, solaris, freebsd) and is available as a
native package in most cases. I don’t want people packaging puppet
to also have to package 10 other prerequisites, so I don’t want to
rely on something that brings in 50 libraries to handle views or
models that I won’t use.

Anyone have any experience writing something like this? Can anyone
point me to an easy server-side REST api creator, something with few
dependencies and that focuses on the routing? There are some things
I’ve been told are in Rails that I’d also like, like content-type
negotiation and automatic serialization and deserialization, since
I’m sometimes passing YAML around (although often just plain text).

Thanks,
Luke

1 - http://reductivelabs.com/trac/puppet
2 - http://wiki.rubyonrails.org/rails/pages/ActiveResource


Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break
your word or lose your self-respect. – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Luke K. | http://reductivelabs.com | http://madstop.com


#2

Luke K. wrote:

ActiveRecord. Basically, I just need the controllers and routing, I think.

I’ve looked around at most of the frameworks I can find, including
Nitro, Merb, Camping, and Rails, and all of them seem to assume that I
care deeply about databases and HTML, while really all I want to do is
make it easy to provide a REST-like interface for my software to use to
talk to itself.

Interesting. One thing I like about Nitro is that it doesn’t presume
the use of a database. Model objects can be “enchanted” to magic
persistence if needed, but otherwise they’re just PORC. Og is not a
requirement for a Nitro app.

Same for Ramaze (which is similar to Nitro, but more modular).

also have to package 10 other prerequisites, so I don’t want to rely on
something that brings in 50 libraries to handle views or models that I
won’t use.

Look at Ramaze.


James B.

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the
intelligent are full of doubt.”

  • Bertrand Russell

#3

On Thu, 2 Aug 2007, Luke K. wrote:

The weird situation with Puppet is that I’m only interested in
computer-computer communication and in most cases have no interest in
multiple forms of a given object, so I don’t think I need views, and I’m not
using a db backend, which means I don’t need an ORM like ActiveRecord.
Basically, I just need the controllers and routing, I think.

I’ve looked around at most of the frameworks I can find, including Nitro,
Merb, Camping, and Rails, and all of them seem to assume that I care deeply
about databases and HTML, while really all I want to do is make it easy to
provide a REST-like interface for my software to use to talk to itself.

You could use IOWA. It’s pretty well self contained, doesn’t really
care
what kind of content you are rendering, doesn’t care what ORM you use,
or
if you use one, has REST support built into the standard dispatcher, and
has a pluggable dispatching mechanism so that you can actually do
whatever
the heck you want with dispatching. And I’ve been using it on
production
code for quite a few years – five and a half, now.

If you use IRC, stop in at #iowa on freenode. The most current released
snapshot is at withruby.com/iowa, but I have another that I’ve promised
people will get pushed to Rubyforge soon.

Kirk H.


#4

Trans wrote:

Might try:

http://seattlerb.rubyforge.org/rc-rest

These guys never sleep.

I say we change the name of the language from “Ruby” to “Seattle” and be
done with it.


James B.

“I often work by avoidance.”

  • Brian Eno

#5

On Aug 1, 1:06 pm, Luke K. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Anyone have any experience writing something like this? Can anyone
point me to an easy server-side REST api creator, something with few
dependencies and that focuses on the routing? There are some things
I’ve been told are in Rails that I’d also like, like content-type
negotiation and automatic serialization and deserialization, since
I’m sometimes passing YAML around (although often just plain text).

Might try:

http://seattlerb.rubyforge.org/rc-rest

T.


#6

http://seattlerb.rubyforge.org/rc-rest

These guys never sleep.

I say we change the name of the language from “Ruby” to “Seattle” and be
done with it.

Seriously, they’re putting something in the water up there or something.


Giles B.

Blog: http://gilesbowkett.blogspot.com
Portfolio: http://www.gilesgoatboy.org


#7

On Aug 1, 8:15 pm, James B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Trans wrote:

Might try:

http://seattlerb.rubyforge.org/rc-rest

These guys never sleep.

I say we change the name of the language from “Ruby” to “Seattle” and be
done with it.

He he. Yea, but do they draw us pretty pictures?

T.


#8

On Aug 1, 2007, at 2:06 PM, Luke K. wrote:

like ActiveRecord. Basically, I just need the controllers and
me. I’ve got 9 different namespaces in xmlrpc right now, but I
Anyone have any experience writing something like this? Can anyone
point me to an easy server-side REST api creator, something with
few dependencies and that focuses on the routing? There are some
things I’ve been told are in Rails that I’d also like, like content-
type negotiation and automatic serialization and deserialization,
since I’m sometimes passing YAML around (although often just plain
text).

Thanks,
Luke

hey luke - how goes?

we are just starting a project that’s going to use extjs for the
entire front-end

http://extjs.com/

and my plan is to do only controllers for the backend : basically
‘json_output remote_method(json_input)’ rpc style interaction. all
business logic will be exposed as ajax methods taking json in and
rendering json. not quite up your alley, but maybe we can compare
notes…

also, at some point in the past, i made a small plugin that allowed
any rails model to be fully rest-able via xml or yaml… i’ll try to
dig it up…

a @ http://drawohara.com/


#9

I’ve looked around at most of the frameworks I can find, including
Nitro, Merb, Camping, and Rails, and all of them seem to assume that I
care deeply about databases and HTML, while really all I want to do is
make it easy to provide a REST-like interface for my software to use to
talk to itself.

I use camping all the time for little projects where I just want a
view of something. Never used a database with it at all. With
the views I guess you can render any kind of response you like.
I’ve done simple kinds of content type negotiation for
the same URL by just changing the suffix of the URL

Camping.goes :app

class Foo < R ‘/foo.(\w+)’
def get( ctype )

% Do stuff

case ctype
when 'html'
  render :foo_html
when 'txt'
  render :foo_txt
when 'xml'
  render :foo_xml
when 'yaml'
  render :foo_yaml
default
  render :fourohfour
end

end
end

then

http://xtargets.com/app/foo.txt
http://xtargets.com/app/foo.xml
http://xtargets.com/app/foo.yaml
http://xtargets.com/app/foo.html

all get me the same data in with a different representation.

It may be better ( though I didn’t do it ) to overwrite render
with your own implementation which checks content type

alias :render, :old_render

def render(api)
if @ctype
old_render “#{api}_#{@ctype}”
else
old_render api
end
end

then just do
class Foo < R ‘/foo.(\w+)’
def get( ctype )

       % Do stuff
@ctype = ctype
render :foo

end
end