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Re: Web Data APIs

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 23:42:00 -0800
Message-ID: <63df84f0911022342h757fc962o277aa63403c3be00@mail.gmail.com>
To: Pablo Castro <Pablo.Castro@microsoft.com>
Cc: "public-webapps@w3.org" <public-webapps@w3.org>
On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 10:25 AM, Pablo Castro
<Pablo.Castro@microsoft.com> wrote:
> We’ve been looking at the web database space here at Microsoft, trying to
> understand scenarios and requirements. After assessing what was out there we
> are forming an opinion around this. I wanted to write to this group to share
> how we think about the space, what principles we try to apply, and to
> discuss specifics.
> The short story is that we believe Nikunj’s WebSimpleDB proposal, which
> basically describes a minimum-bar web database API and enables a whole set
> of diverse options to be built on top, is the right thing to do.
> During the last couple of weeks we have been talking with various folks from
> Mozilla and Oracle and iterating over details of the WebSimpleDB draft. In
> the process it has become clear that we all share the same high-level
> expectations on the scope and capabilities of this API, and Nikunj has been
> hard at work making changes to the draft to keep up with them. I’ll touch on
> a few details below, but bear in mind that several of them are already in
> the process of being addressed.
> We would love to hear feedback, requirements, specific application
> scenarios, etc. We want to make progress quickly and get experimental
> implementations going to ensure that as we explore we stay grounded, with
> things that are implementable.

Hi Pablo,

Sorry about the slow response.

While there isn't such a thing as a official mozilla position, this
very closely (scaringly so ;) ) matches the thinking of most people
that have participated in the database discussions here. We've had
conversations with both Oracle and Microsoft, as well as with both
javascript developers and people that have worked with databases on
the web, such as the CouchDB people.

>From basically everywhere we've gotten the feedback that a low-level
API in the style of WebSimpleDB is preferrable to the SQL based API in
the WebDatabase drafts. The main argument we got for an SQL based API
was "we don't care what we get, we just want something, though if we
got to pick a SQL API is not what we'd pick".

So our recommendation is to start with WebSimpleDB and iterate on
that. The first thing we should do is to see where we can simplify
things. For example foreign keys, queues and database versions seems
like something that can probably be removed.

We also got the feedback that something that's more event-based rather
than callback based was preferable (which came as a surprise to most
of us). Personally I think this change isn't as urgent, but I do think
it's something that should be fixed before implementations start to

As I'm reading the latest editor drafts I see that some of these
changes have already been made, which is great to see. I need to
review these changes more in detail, but in the meantime I wanted to
let the WG know about what activities have been going on at mozilla.

/ Jonas
Received on Tuesday, 3 November 2009 07:43:00 UTC

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