ReST or the Remote Software Toolkit is a collection of graphical tools for software developers to accelerate the development of a graphical user interfaces for their applications. Consisting of the ReST Installer and in the future the ReST Explorer and ReST Monitor, ReST provides a configurable set of end users tools developers can distribute with their software; allowing the developer to "virtually" hold the hand of the user as the software is installed, maintained and used. By providing a familiar interface, ReST aims to reduce the learning curve inherent with new software and provide software developers a natural means of imparting their application specific knowledge to the end user.
Besides all that, ReST is cool.Why was ReST created?
ReST is a first step in creating a solution to bridging the application knowledge gap that exists between the application developers and end users. Most software developers build tremendous potential into their software applications and in most cases adequate, if not excellent, documentation is provided with the software. Even with such documentation, however, the software learning curve can be very sharp. In the day of point-and-click and immediate gratification, most users will ascend just high enough on the curve to scratch the surface of the application's potential. Tremendous usage possibilities lie just beyond the current users knowledge state, however, due to a multitude of reasons the current application usage will never be exceeded. By providing a single interface familiar to most users, ReST aims to reduce, if not eliminate, the learning curve and allow the user to concentrate on using the software.Who can use ReST?
Although originally developed with grid software developers in mind, ReST is equally useful for other software developers. Everything from libraries to grid applications have been packaged for installation from source or binary using the ReST Installer.What is the ReST Installer, Explorer or Monitor?
See the Overview section of the website.How do I examine a ReST Software Package?
Since a package is just a jar or zip file, it is possible to use any unzip utility to extract the contents of a package for viewing. However, in the ReST Web Tools there is a utility which allows for a package to be uploaded, parsed and presented as a web page displaying all of the package's capabilities.
There are several method for installing a package using the ReST Installer. The easiest method requires the package provider create a Java Network Launch Protocol (jnlp) file for the install. This file provided as a link on a website, will launch the Installer with the specified package.
If all that is provided is the ReST software package, then the ReST Installer must be downloaded from the software section of the website. Once downloaded either the package can be specified as a command line argument while launching the Installer or provided when prompted by the installer on start-up.
Before software can make use of ReST two conditions must be met. First, because ReST exists as an end user tool, the software to be distributed must support user space installs. Second, it must have a command-line interface.
A basic ReST environment for an application starts with a well written Installer package. The best Installer package consists of a model install the user may easily modify through the Installer for their purposes. Each user definable element in the package allows the developer to add a description which is displayed to the user and serves as an important step in reducing the installation learning curve. Within the Installer package exists actions which can be performed once the installation completes either in the Installer or in the future using the ReST Explorer. Actions provide a means for the developer to easily make use of two core ReST components without ever writing any gui code. Other means of easily making use of the Explorer and Monitor will be provided once released. More information is available about package writing in the Developer Documentation part of this website.