Re: [thredds] nco as a web service

Hi Dennis:

Thanks.  One comment.  I think you misunderstood my point about Matlab and R.  
I am not interested in Matlab specific implementations.  The point was because 
the URL completely defines the request, I can implement scripts in any 
application that can send an URL and receive a file in terms of functions 
built-in to that application  - that is my clients do not break as the 
application or operating system change.

While I understand why this occurred, a few years ago we had straight OPeNDAP 
implementations.  We had a lot of users using scripts we developed for Matlab, 
running under Windows.  Due to updates in both Windows and Matlab, the OPeNDAP 
files for Windows stopped working (at least for Matlab).  We had a lot of users 
that were left stranded and stranded for quite a long time.  Developing and 
maintaining clients, particularly clients that are working within an 
application for which you have to write code, very quickly becomes a 
non-trivial exercise.

Since we switched to a service where the URL completely defines the request, 
our Matlab and R scripts have survived quite nicely any number of updates both 
to the applications themselves and to the operating systems.  That is because 
the clients now only use functions built into the applications.

Why I strongly prefer, if it is at all reasonable, services that only use GET, 
not POST.


On Jun 28, 2012, at 1:03 PM, Dennis Heimbigner wrote:

> > I am old and slow, but suppose I am in OpeNDAP, are you proposing
> > to separate say constraint expressions and server-side function
> > requests basically the same (ie I just scan what is after each
> > comma) or do you propose some method that signifies in the URL
> > that what follows is an expression?  In F-TDS and GDS the form of
> > the URL is:
> First, I am proposing to subsume DAP constraints.
> Second, I am proposing, like DAP, to put the expressions
> in the query part of the URL (i.e. after the '?').
> >
> > http://machine:port/thredds/dodsC/dataset_expr_{dataset2,dataset3,...}{expression1;expression2;...}.URLsuffix?constraint
> So, I would rewrite this as something more-or-less like this:
> http://machine.../dataset?expression1,expression2,...
> Where the expressions would include the references to dataset2, dataset3,
> and the constraint.
> > BTW, the reason I have asked about the experience of people who
> > are using F-TDS and GDS on whether synchronous requests can cover
> > the large majority of cases, is because I am very partial to
> > systems where the URL completely defines the request, and hence
> > essentially use GET as the verb.
> The synchronous/asynchronous issue is, for me, a separable issue.
> I should note that GET has a limit on the size of URLS, so
> there needs to be ways to deal with that. Two possibilities are
> 1) use POST or PUT, or 2) provide a way to upload a long expression
> in parts USING multiple GETs.
> > The reason for this is long
> > experience.  where client code has broken with changes in
> > operating system and/or application, fixes were slow in coming,
> > so many users were left with nothing working.  In a system where
> > the URL completely defined the request, say ERDDAP, in Matlab:
> >
> > > > link='[(2010-01-16T12:00:00Z):1:(2010-01-16T12:00:00Z)][(0.0):1:(0.0)][(30):1:(50.0)][(220):1:(240.0)]';
> > > > F=urlwrite(link,'cwatch.mat');
> > > >
> >
> > Will get the related file, and the entire command is in Matlab,
> > no extra code required.  The same in R is:
> >
> > > > download.file(url="[(2010-01-16T12:00:00Z):1:(2010-01-16T12:00:00Z)][(0.0):1:(0.0)][(30):1:(50.0)][(220):1:(240.0)]",
> > > >  destfile="",mode='wb')
> > > >
> >
> > again, "download.file" is an R command.
> I think that we do not want to be R/MATLAB specific
> in a proposal to put stuff in URLs. I would rather
> propose to allow uploading of R/MATLAB scripts to serve
> as additional, user-defined functions.
> I would prefer to
> > maintain this simplicity and cover 80% of the cases if possible,
> > than cover the rest but where more complex, application specific
> > code would have to be developed and maintained.
> Agreed. However my assumption is the the output of any function that
> is not assigned to a single-assignment variable will be returned as part
> of the response; but other ways of specifying this are possible within
> the functional framework I am proposing.
> =Dennis Heimbigner
> Unidata

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