Here is the plan for a demo:
A Web Feature Server (WFS) in its basic incantation is really a store of geospatial collections that can be accessed using RESTful services.
Building Web Services the REST way has been a very hot topic in the Rails Community.
Rails 1.2 can quickly allow you to build such services and return xml or html on-demand. JSON or [Geo]-rss/atom could be returned as easily in a similar manner.
Discovering the meta-data should be feasible using a meta-data feed and probing a specific url.
This would give us many services to access the various collections and the meta-data. The whole package could be described using a service document as proposed in the Atom Publishing Protocol (APP) that would describe all the available services. This document itself would be available at a specific url.
Searching the WFS would be done via OpenSearch-Geo which is another REST service returning atom or KML feeds.
The goal is to implement this for the upcoming ESTO/AIST Fire Management demo this summer and support the GEOSS Pilot effort this fall. This is also in line with our participation into the OWS-5 Agile Geography testbed.
A Few Links: