Service prototyping is still a young topic when it comes to cloud services, web services or other network services. Researchers are concerned with defining the topic more accurately and finding out which metrics matter, for instance time, quality or cost. New definitions, methods and tools will result from this process.
In a previous blog post, we have discussed the process of automating service and API prototyping tools on the scripting level, ensuring that all commands to install dependencies and to configure the software are executed properly, in order and without omission. The tool in focus has been Ramses which turns RAML web service descriptions into executable prototypes. The focus of this post is to take this idea further to the SaaS and web application level. A convenient web application, accessible from every browser, should offer a guided prototypical service generation based on just the service interface description which specifies its resources, methods and data types.
Our lab (Service Prototyping Lab) offers a unique homonymous elective module on the bachelor’s level in computer science at the School of Engineering at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW): Internet Service Prototyping. In the recently concluded semester term, the module was organised for the first time. Several students were brave enough to vote this combined Monday-morning lecture and lab into their curriculum which takes place in the 5th semester for full-time students and slightly later for part-time students of computer science. This post reflects on the educational motivation, the design of the course, the didactic and technological concepts, and some expected and unexpected results in the wake of rapid technology changes on a monthly basis.
Rapid service prototyping, cloud application prototyping and API prototyping are closely related techniques which share a common goal: To get a first working prototype designed, implemented and placed online quickly, with small effort and with little headache over tooling concerns. The approaches in this area are still emerging and thus often ad-hoc or even immature. Several prototyping frameworks do nevertheless show a potential to become part of serious engineering workflows. In this post, the Ramses framework will be presented and evaluated regarding this goal.
Here in ICCLab, we’ve always been interested in the hackathon approach as a way to develop small but practical ideas and make demonstrable prototypes rapidly. With all of our other commitments, it has been difficult for us to set aside the time for such an event, but we finally managed to do this last week.
The scope was loose, with the objective being to develop something which can be demonstrated; we had a small preference for work which was related to our core business – cloud technologies – but we were quite flexible on this point. Continue reading