All REST and no play…

By | November 9, 2005

One of the things we are working on for an upcoming release is REST interfaces into all our content. If you aren’t familiar with REST I’d just suggest reading Building Web Services the REST Way.

Today, within the Zimbra Collaboration Suite we have a number of different server-side URLs that our client accesses to download an attachment, export contacts as CSV, export a calendar as an ICS, file etc. We are also adding sharing (what would collaboration be without sharing, after all) of calendars, contacts, etc. Not only within a particular Zimbra community, but between Zimbra communities and the public at large.

In order to facilitate this, we are coming up with a clean, consistent URL interface to all our resources. The best way to describe this is with some examples.


Lets say I want access to my calendar folder from within iCal. The URL would look like:

  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/calendar

The default format on calendar folders is ICS, so no need to specify the format.

Lets say I want to export my contacts folder so I can import them into another account:

  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/contacts

Contact folders have a default type of CSV, so like calendars, no need to specify the format.

How about an RSS feed of unread messages in my inbox:

  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/inbox.rss?query="is:unread"

By specifying an extension of “.rss” on the inbox folder, the server will automatically generate an RSS feed on it. Adding the “query” parameter lets me further refine what gets returned. You can also specify “?fmt=rss” instead of using the “.rss” extension if you’d like.

Lets do something a little more interesting. How about a zip file containing all messages in my talks/ajax folder:

  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/talks/ajax.zip

The server zips them all up and returns the zip file.

Another interesting example is say you have created a public calendar that you want to share with everyone. Once you have granted access to the calendar, it is up to the consumer to chose what format they want to view it in:

  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/calendar/talks.ics
  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/calendar/talks.html?view=month
  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/calendar/talks.atom
  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/calendar/talks.xml
  http://server/zimbra/user/roland/calendar/talks.txt

How about accessing another user’s calendar/folder? Once they grant you access, you can use the same exact syntax:

  http://server/zimbra/user/janie/holidays.ics

One last interesting example to leave you with. Lets say you have a friend at widgets.com who you know is running Zimbra and who has shared their calendar with you, but you don’t know the name of their public Zimbra server. As long as they publish some DNS SRV records for _zimbra._tcp.widgets.com, then you can access it directly from your Zimbra without needing to know his server’s address:

  http://server/zimbra/user/friend@widgets.com/calendar


Comments

  • I apologize for my ignorance, but, how is this used? Or is it just an expression of will or direction of zimbra development?

    Thanks

    Commented on May 18, 2010 at 2:47 PM