Recapping the Atom Publishing Protocol interoperability meetup

APR 20, 2007
Posted by DeWitt Clinton, Google Developer Programs

Google had the privilege and pleasure of hosting the first-ever Atom Publishing Protocol interoperability meetup earlier this week in Mountain View, CA.

The Atom Publishing Protocol is a specification that helps define the interactions between clients and servers that wish to read and write collections of documents via the web. Building upon the popular Atom Syndication Format, the Atom Publishing Protocol formalizes many of the mechanisms required for the exchange of rich and meaningful content via a process known as Representational State Transfer, known familiarly as REST. Nearing completion as an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard, the protocol is already seeing wide adoption, and the working group felt it was time to bring people together to see how the various existing implementations interacted with each other.

Over 20 representatives from organizations and companies far and wide (some hailing from all the way across the Pacific) made the trip to Mountain View for two days of interoperability testing. The meetup was open to anyone who has built client or server software that uses the protocol, and it was extensively blogged about and "simulcast" over the Atom IRC channel for those who could not attend in person. Striking was the diversity of both the organizations in attendance (AOL, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, O'Reilly, Six Apart, to name just a few) and the wide variety in types of applications being built. And a special thanks to Tim Bray, co-chair of the Atom Publishing Protocol working group, for his tireless devotion to the standards process and for leading the group in making the most of our time together.

And for the curious: how did Google's many implementations of the protocol do at interoperability? Well, authentication was a hurdle for most clients (the specification itself considers authentication to be an orthogonal concern), but beyond that our servers are relatively compliant and some of our client code is well along the way to full support for the protocol. Perhaps more importantly, Google is committed to continued support of the working group, and we intend to keep pace with the draft specifications as they are finalized.

Overall we felt the meetup was a great success and we are honored to be a part of a community that is building something that is likely to be an important piece of the fabric of the Internet.