Using GO Publisher to set up your Web Feature Service is a great way to make your dataset accessible to a larger number of people. Utilising WFS, users from outside your organisation are able to download and query your data using globally adopted open standards. All these standards are great but they can be a bit heavyweight for some users (mobile for example). Also what if you don’t want all your data to be open, what if you want to restrict what users can access, limiting them to certain features within your data. For this purpose, you’ll need to go RESTful.
What does REST mean, I hear you cry? Don’t worry; it won’t make your WFS lazy, quite the opposite in fact. Making your WFS RESTful simply means making it accessible to people outside of your organisation via a simple web URL. REST stands for Representational State Transfer, and you use it all the time. In fact, you used it to get to this very page. REST is a web architectural style built in parallel with HTTP/1.1, and consists of clients and servers. So in this case, Snowflake is the server, you (the inquisitive client) sent a request to the server, and the server sent the information (this article) back to you. REST is all about the sharing of data between client and server, and we just love to share data here at Snowflake.
So what might you use a RESTful deployment for? An aviation company could use a RESTful deployment to saved queries on AIXM or WXXM a database to find flight times, delays and problems. A mapping company could use a RESTful deployment to host a query portal for information extraction. If you have the data and can think of a way to query it, then a RESTful WFS deployment from GO Publisher may be just the tool you have been looking for.
Stay in control
Beyond making your dataset accessible to a wider audience, making your WFS RESTful comes with a slew of other benefits. The end user doesn’t need to be a WFS guru to access your data, all you need to do is hand them the necessary URL’s. You can keep complete control over what the end user sees, pre-defining what they can and can’t access. If you know what the end user will be using the WFS for, you can optimise your database to the fullest, with columns indexed according to the request they relate to. GO Publisher WFS is a powerful tool for sharing and querying data, extending your WFS by making it RESTful is a great way of getting more value from an already excellent tool.