Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Catching up

with 3 comments

Its labor day weekend here in the US which means everyone I know here in Bako has disappeared for the weekend and that includes my fiance who has gone back to the UK for a week or so. Hence, I’ve spent the weekend catching up on things I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.

Number one has been developing a SSIS custom component that I hope to be able to distribute within a week or so (keep an eye on my other blog for details). Its been fun getting my hands really dirty with C#, something I’ve previously only claimed to have cursory experience of. Secondly, I’ve been watching lots of films from my Netflix and DVR back catalog. Marathon Man, Layer Cake, The Third Man, Beverly Hills Cop so far. Reno 911 in about 20 minutes when I’ve finished writing this. Thirdly, I’ve been doing a lot of reading around Windows Live, specifically around Live Data and how Microsoft are going to expose that data in public APIs.

The guy that seems to have most responsibility in this area is Yaron Goland. Take a read of his blog if you can because whereas he doesn’t post very often when he does he is remarkably candid and he gives some telling insights into machinations within Windows Live. What seems clear from what I’ve read on Yaron’s blog and elsewhere is that exposing data via a RESTful API is key for Windows Live and that piqued my interest because I’ve been doing a lot of investigation into RESTful Web Services lately and have talked about them a little bit too. Yaron has devised a RESTful API/protocol called Web3S that Microsoft will be using to expose Live Data until a better protocol comes along. This has been a contentious decision in communities that float far over my head because adversaries such as Yahoo and Google have opted to support the Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPP or APP) and Microsoft’s decision is seen in some parts as a move to "lock-in" customers – a tactic that has proved incredibly fruitful for Microsoft in the past.

Yaron answers those claims with this excellent blog post. The whole APP -v- Web3S thing was going completely over my head but Yaron has done a good job of breaking down the decision in layman’s terms so I’m thankful for that. Here’s some choice quotes:

  • "…we don’t care about lock in. At least the people who give me orders have a good understanding that the days of lock in are long over. The future clearly belongs to connecting services together. That is, nobody is going to have all of their data, services, etc. at Live. It won’t happen. We could be the absolute best at everything we do and we still won’t own all of a user’s data and services. So for us to succeed we have to convince users to keep some of their data/services with us and then make it brain dead easy to connect the data/services they keep with us to all the other data/services they keep in lots of other places."
  • "…we first went to APP. It’s the hottest thing around. Yahoo, Google, etc. everyone loves it. And as Dare pointed out in his last article Microsoft has adopted it and will continue to adopt it where it makes sense. There was only one problem – we couldn’t make APP work in any sane way for our scenarios. In fact, after looking around for a bit, we couldn’t find any protocol that really did what we needed."

Fascinating stuff I hope you’ll agree. To the layman like me (and, most probably, you) its helpful to get these insights and it whets the appetites for future developments.I certainly can’t wait to start consuming Web3S-exposed Live Services data within SSIS and seeing if there are any interesting scenarios where the two will interact.

 

I also stumbled across this forum posting where Live Data and Astoria are mentioned in the same breath. The poster questions why Microsoft are pushing two seemingly contradictory RESTful APIs in Astoria and whatever Live Data eventually comes out with. The answer comes back that rather than being contradictory they are actually complimentary and that we should expect to see more synergy in the future as betas are rolled out. Well, that was 6 months ago and in in the interim the EDM team (i.e. the team behind Astoria) have published beta 2 of their products and yet there is no mention of how this integrates with Windows Live Data. I hope to see some news in this area very soon.

 

Lastly, I also saw this very interesting illustration of how Windows Live services will interoperate and be exposed. Some pertinent facts about the Windows Live databases at present:

  • Global network exists capable of delivering1 terabit per second
  • 120million users of Windows Live Spaces
  • 60million photos posted to Spaces every day
  • 500million address books
  • 26billion contact records
  • 17petabytes of maps stored
  • 5billion documents and 400million images indexed in Live Search
  • 450million Live IDs.
  • 1billion authentications a day

Phew. Those are some staggering numbers. And they’ll get bigger.

Happy reading!

-Jamie

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Written by Jamiet

September 3, 2007 at 2:58 am

Posted in Windows Live

3 Responses

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  1. Check out Astoria Design: payload formats. It gives an update on the status of Web3S and Astoria. BTW, Windows Live Data is a permissioning system. Web3S is a data access protocol. I know it’s confusing because they are always mentioned in the same place because the same team is driving both. 

    Yaron

    September 10, 2007 at 6:39 pm

  2. Hiya Yaron,Yeah I saw that earlier today. Very timely indeed and thank you for pointing it out.
     
    Point taken about the difference between Live Data and the method for accessing Live Data.
    cheersJamie 

    Jamie

    September 11, 2007 at 1:07 am


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