Database Interop Hackathon/Implementations
This page discusses potential target implementations that demonstrate the goals for the Evolutionary Database Interop Hackathon, to be held at NESCent in December 2008. The overall goal is to expose evolutionary data resource on the web in a machine readable architecture so that they can be integrated in complex work flows and mash-ups. To this end, we suggest their implementing of the stack produced by the evolutionary informatics working group:
- Syntax - the NeXML data exchange standard
- Interface/transport - the PhyloWS API for web services
- Semantics - the CDAO character data analysis ontology
By combining these three components into a single, integrated stack, online data resources will produce output that is easy to parse and validate, whose semantics are well-defined, and whose interface is uniform across data resources.
Some of the online data resources the hackathon seeks to invite for an implementation drive are listed in the table below. The semantics of the output produced by these resources is diverse, including species trees, taxonomies, gene trees, character state matrices and alignments. Also, the programming languages used to implement these services are diverse, including Java, PHP, Python and Perl. This situation goes a long way to explain why standard industry practices (write a WSDL, generate client and server bindings, implement service) have not seen wide adoption in the evolutionary informatics community: different resources have, semantically and syntactically, different inputs and outputs, and are implemented in languages whose support for web services (especially WS-*) is sometimes incomplete.