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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 RFC 6570

Network Working Group                                   J. Gregorio, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                                    Google
Intended status: Standards Track                          M. Hadley, Ed.
Expires: September 27, 2008                             Sun Microsystems
                                                      M. Nottingham, Ed.

                                                              D. Orchard
                                                       BEA Systems, Inc.
                                                            Mar 26, 2008


                              URI Template
                     draft-gregorio-uritemplate-03

Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on September 27, 2008.

Abstract

   A URI Template is a compact sequence of characters used for the
   construction of URIs.  This specification defines the URI Template
   syntax and the process for expanding a URI Template into a URI, along
   with guidelines and security considerations for the use of URI
   Templates on the Internet.  The URI Template syntax allows for the
   construction of strings that are a superset of URIs, allowing an
   implementation to process any URI Template without knowing the



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   scheme-specific requirements of every possible resulting URI.

Editorial Note

   To provide feedback on this Internet-Draft, join the W3C URI mailing
   list (http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/uri/) [1].


Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     1.1.  Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     1.2.  Design Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     1.3.  Applicability  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     1.4.  Notational Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   2.  Characters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   3.  Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   4.  URI Template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     4.1.  Variables  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     4.2.  Template Expansions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     4.3.  Error Handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     4.4.  URI Template Substitution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       4.4.1.  ('var') substitution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       4.4.2.  The 'opt' operator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       4.4.3.  The 'neg' operator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       4.4.4.  The 'prefix' operator  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       4.4.5.  The 'suffix' operator  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       4.4.6.  The 'join' operator  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       4.4.7.  The 'list' operator  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     4.5.  Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   5.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   6.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   7.  Appendix A - Parsing URI Template Expansions . . . . . . . . . 13
   8.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   Appendix A.  Contributors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   Appendix B.  Revision History  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . . . . . 16













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1.  Introduction

   A URI Template provides a simple and extensible format for URI
   construction.  A URI Template is a string that contains embedded
   expansions, text marked off in matching braces ('{', '}'), that
   denotes a part of the string that is to be substituted by a template
   processor to produce a URI.  A URI Template is transformed into a URI
   by substituting the expansions with their calculated value.

   Several specifications have defined URI Templates with varying levels
   of formality, such as WSDL, WADL and OpenSearch.  This specification
   is derived from these concepts, giving a rigorous definition to such
   templates.

   This specification uses the terms "character" and "coded character
   set" in accordance with the definitions provided in [RFC2978], and
   "character encoding" in place of what [RFC2978] refers to as a
   "charset".

1.1.  Overview

   A URI Template allows a structural description of URIs while allowing
   a consumer of the template to construct a final URI by providing the
   values of the expansion variables.  For example, given the following
   URI Template:

       http://www.example.com/users/{userid}

   And the following variable value

       userid := "fred"

   The expansion of the URI Template is:

       http://www.example.com/users/fred

   Here is an example that constructs a query from multiple variables:

       http://www.example.com/?{-join|&|query,number}

   And the following variables

       query  := "mycelium"
       number := 100

   The expansion of the URI Template is:

     http://www.example.com/?query=mycelium&number=100



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   The template expansion describes in a machine readable manner how the
   URI is to be constructed.

     http://www.example.com/?{-join|&|query,number}
                             \____________________/
                                      |
                                      |
           Join 'var=value' for each variable
           in ['query', 'number'] with '&'.

1.2.  Design Considerations

   The URI Template syntax has been designed to carefully balance the
   need for a powerful substitution mechanism with ease of
   implementation and security.  The syntax is designed to be easy to
   parse while at the same time providing enough flexibility to express
   many common templating scenarios.

   Another consideration was to keep the syntax and processing in-line
   with the pre-existing templating schemes present in OpenSearch, WSDL
   and WADL.

   The final design consideration was control over the placement of
   reserved characters in the URI generated from a URI Template.  The
   reserved characters in a URI Template can only appear in the non-
   expansion text, or in the argument to an operator, both locations are
   dictated by the URI Template author.  Given the percent-encoding
   rules for variable values this means that the source of all
   structure, i.e reserved characters, in a URI generated from a URI
   Template is decided by the URI Template author.

1.3.  Applicability

   While URI Templates use a notation that is similar to some URI path
   matching notations in web frameworks, URI Templates were not designed
   for that use case, nor are they appropriate for that purpose.  URI
   Templates are not URIs, they do not identify an abstract or physical
   resource, they are not to be treated like URIs, nor should not be
   used in places where a URI would be expected.

1.4.  Notational Conventions

   This specification uses the Augmented Backus-Naur Form (ABNF)
   notation of [RFC5234], including the following core ABNF syntax rules
   defined by that specification: ALPHA (letters) and DIGIT (decimal
   digits).  See [RFC3986] for the definitions of the URI-reference,
   percent-encoded, reserved, and unreserved rules.




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   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].


2.  Characters

   A URI Template is a sequence of characters, and has the same issues
   as URIs with regard to codepoints and character sets.  That is, URI
   Template characters are frequently encoded as octets for transport or
   presentation.  This specification does not mandate any particular
   character encoding for mapping between URI characters and the octets
   used to store or transmit those characters.  When a URI appears in a
   protocol element, the character encoding is defined by that protocol;
   without such a definition, a URI is assumed to be in the same
   character encoding as the surrounding text.

   The ABNF notation defines its terminal values to be non-negative
   integers (codepoints) based on the US-ASCII coded character set
   [ASCII].  Because a URI is a sequence of characters, we must invert
   that relation in order to understand the URI syntax.  Therefore, the
   integer values used by the ABNF must be mapped back to their
   corresponding characters via US-ASCII in order to complete the syntax
   rules.


3.  Terminology

   o  template processor - A program or library that converts a URI
      Template into a URI.
   o  template expansion - The text between '{' and '}', including the
      enclosing brackets.


4.  URI Template

   A URI Template is a sequence of characters that contains any number
   of embedded template expansions, see Section 4.2.  Each expansion
   references one or more variables whose values are used when
   determining the substition value for an expansion.  A URI Template
   becomes a URI when all the template expansions are substituted with
   their values (see Section 4.4).  The generated URI will be a URI-
   reference, i.e. either an absolute URI or a relative reference.

4.1.  Variables

   Every variable is either a Unicode string or a list of Unicode
   strings.



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   A template expansion MAY reference variables that are unknown to the
   template processor.  Those variables are 'undefined' and template
   expansion takes into consideration 'undefined' variables.
   Conversely, every variable that he template processor knows about is
   considered 'defined'.

   A variable that contains a string of length zero MUST NOT be
   considered 'undefined' by the template processor.  A list variable
   that contains no members, that is of zero length, MUST NOT be
   considered 'undefined' by the template processor.

   Beyond the scope of this specification is the allowable programming
   constructs that can be used for a list variable.  For example, a
   Python implementation might allow only built-in list types, or it may
   allow any iterable to be used as the source for a list variable.

   Some variables may be supplied with default values.  The default
   value must comde from ( unreserved / pct-encoded ).  Note that there
   is no notation for supplying default values to list variables.

   A variable may appear in more than one expansion in a URI Template.
   The value used for that variable MUST remain the same for every
   template expansion when converting a URI Template into a URI.

4.2.  Template Expansions

   Template expansions are the parameterized components of a URI
   Template.  A template expansion MUST match the 'expansion' rule.

    op          = 1*ALPHA
    arg         = *(reserved / unreserved / pct-encoded)
    var         = varname [ "=" vardefault ]
    vars        = var [ *("," var) ]
    varname     = (ALPHA / DIGIT)*(ALPHA / DIGIT / "." / "_" / "-" )
    vardefault  = *(unreserved / pct-encoded)
    operator    = "-" op "|" arg "|" vars
    expansion   = "{" ( var / operator ) "}"


4.3.  Error Handling

   During template substitution error conditions may arise.  The exact
   circumstances for those errors are described in Section 4.4.  When an
   error occurs the template processor MUST NOT return a URI.  It is
   language specific and beyond the scope of this document how the
   template processor signals that an error has occured and that a URI
   will not be generated from the template.




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4.4.  URI Template Substitution

   Template substitution is the process of turning a URI Template into a
   URI given definitions for the variables used in the template.
   Substitution replaces each expansion with its calculated value.  A
   template processor take two inputs, a URI Template and a set of
   variables, and returns a URI-reference.

   Before substitution the template processor MUST convert every
   variable value into a sequence of characters in ( unreserved / pct-
   encoded ).  The template processor does that using the following
   algorithm: The template processor normalizes the string using NFKC,
   converts it to UTF-8 [RFC3629], and then every octet of the UTF-8
   string that falls outside of ( unreserved ) MUST be percent-encoded,
   as per [RFC3986], section 2.1.  For variables that are lists, the
   above algorithm is applied to each value in the list.

   The Unicode Standard [UNIV4] defines various equivalences between
   sequences of characters for various purposes.  Unicode Standard Annex
   #15 [UTR15] defines various Normalization Forms for these
   equivalences, in particular Normalization Form KC (NFKC,
   Compatibility Decomposition, followed by Canonical Composition).
   Since different Normalized Forms unicode strings will have different
   UTF-8 represenations the only way to guarantee that template
   processors will produce the same URI is to require a common
   Normalized Form.

   Requiring that all characters outside of ( unreserved ) be percent
   encoded means that the only characters outside of ( unreserved ) that
   will appear in the generated URI-reference will come from outside the
   template expansions in the URI Template or from the argument of a
   template expansion.  This means that the designer of the URI Template
   determines the placement of reserved characters in the resulting URI,
   and thus the structure of the resulting generated URI-reference.

   If the expansion is an operator then the substitution value is
   determined by the given operator.  Each operator works only on the
   variables that are defined within their expansion.

   The result of substitution MUST match the URI-reference rule and
   SHOULD also match any known rules for the scheme of the resulting
   URI.

   If a template processor encounters an operator that it does not
   understand then it MUST fail and MUST NOT produce a URI from the URI
   Template.  The list of operators that a template processor knows is
   not constrained by this specification, that is, later specifications
   may add new operators.



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   Every expansion consists of either a variable ('var') or an operator
   expression ('operator'), and the rules for how to expand each of
   these is given below.  For every expansion a template MUST have at
   least one variable name in the template expansion.  It is an error if
   no variables are supplied.  All of the variables supplied to a
   template expansion MAY be undefined and the expansion rules below
   specify how to process the template expansion in that situation.

4.4.1.  ('var') substitution

   In a variable ('var') expansion, if the variable is defined then
   substitute the value of the variable, otherwise substitute the
   default value.  If no default value is given then substitute with the
   empty string.

   Example:

   foo := "fred"

   "{foo}"        -> "fred"
   "{bar=wilma}"  -> "wilma"
   "{baz}"        -> ""

4.4.2.  The 'opt' operator

   If each variable is undefined or an empty list then substitute the
   empty string, otherwise substitute the value of 'arg'.

   Example:

    foo := "fred"

    "{-opt|fred@example.org|foo}" -> "fred@example.org"
    "{-opt|fred@example.org|bar}" -> ""

4.4.3.  The 'neg' operator

   If each variable is undefined or an empty list then substitute the
   value of arg, otherwise substitute the empty string.

   Example:

    foo := "fred"

    "{-neg|fred@example.org|foo}" -> ""
    "{-neg|fred@example.org|bar}" -> "fred@example.org"





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4.4.4.  The 'prefix' operator

   The prefix operator MUST only have one variable in its expansion.
   More than one variable is an error condition.  If the variable is
   undefined or an empty list then substitute the empty string.  If the
   variable is a defined non-list then substitute the value of arg
   preceeded by the value of the variable.  If the variable is a defined
   list then substitute the concatenation of every list value preceeded
   by the arg.

   Example:

    foo := "fred"
    bar := ["fee", "fi", "fo", "fum"]
    baz := []

    "{-prefix|/|foo}" -> "/fred"
    "{-prefix|/|bar}" -> "/fee/fi/fo/fum"
    "{-prefix|/|baz}" -> ""
    "{-prefix|/|qux}" -> ""

4.4.5.  The 'suffix' operator

   The prefix operator MUST only have one variable in its expansion.
   More than one variable is an error condition.  If the variable is
   undefined or an empty list then substitute the empty string.  If the
   variable is a defined non-list then substitute the value of arg
   followed by the value of the variable.  If the variable is a defined
   list then substitute the concatenation of every list value followed
   by the arg.

   Example:

    foo := "fred"
    bar := ["fee", "fi", "fo", "fum"]
    baz := []

    "{-suffix|/|foo}" -> "fred/"
    "{-suffix|/|bar}" -> "fee/fi/fo/fum/"
    "{-suffix|/|baz}" -> ""
    "{-suffix|/|qux}" -> ""

4.4.6.  The 'join' operator

   Supplying a list variable to the join operator is an error.  For each
   variable that is defined and non-empty create a keyvalue string that
   is the concatenation of the variable name, "=", and the variable
   value.  Concatenate more than one keyvalue string with intervening



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   values of arg to create the substitution value.  The order of
   variables MUST be preserved during substitution.

   Example:

    foo := "fred"
    bar := "barney"
    baz := ""

    "{-join|&|foo,bar,baz,qux}" -> "foo=fred&bar=barney&baz="
    "{-join|&|bar}" -> "bar=barney"
    "{-join|&|qux}" -> ""

4.4.7.  The 'list' operator

   The listjoin operator MUST have only one variable in its expansion
   and that variable must be a list.  More than one variable is an
   error.  If the list is non-empty then substitute the concatenation of
   all the list members with intervening values of arg.  If the list is
   empty or the variable is undefined them substitute the empty string.

   Example:

    foo := ["fred", "barney", "wilma"]
    bar := ["a", "", "c"]
    baz := ["betty"]
    qux := []

    "{-list|/|foo}" -> "fred/barney/wilma"
    "{-list|/|bar}" -> "a//c"
    "{-list|/|baz}" -> "betty"
    "{-list|/|qux}" -> ""
    "{-list|/|corge}" -> ""


















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4.5.  Examples

          Given the following template variable names and values:

              +---------+----------------------------------+
              | Name    | Value                            |
              +---------+----------------------------------+
              | foo     | \u03d3                           |
              | bar     | fred                             |
              | baz     | 10,20,30                         |
              | qux     | ["10","20","30"]                 |
              | corge   | []                               |
              | grault  |                                  |
              | garply  | a/b/c                            |
              | waldo   | ben & jerrys                     |
              | fred    | ["fred", "", "wilma"]            |
              | plugh   | ["\u017F\u0307", "\u0073\u0307"] |
              | 1-a_b.c | 200                              |
              +---------+----------------------------------+

                                  Table 1

   The variable 'foo' is the unicode character GREEK UPSILON WITH ACUTE
   AND HOOK SYMBOL.  This character was chosen because it is one of only
   three characters that has a different normal form for each of the
   four normalization forms (NFC, NFD, NFKC, NFKD).  The name 'xyzzy'
   has not been defined, the value of 'grault' is the empty string.  The
   variables qux, corge, fred, and plugh are lists.

   The following URI Templates will be expanded as shown:

   ----



















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    http://example.org/?q={bar}
    http://example.org/?q=fred

    /{xyzzy}
    /

    http://example.org/?{-join|&|foo,bar,xyzzy,baz}
    http://example.org/?foo=%CE%8E&bar=fred&baz=10%2C20%2C30

    http://example.org/?d={-list|,|qux}
    http://example.org/?d=10,20,30

    http://example.org/?d={-list|&d=|qux}
    http://example.org/?d=10&d=20&d=30

    http://example.org/{bar}{bar}/{garply}
    http://example.org/fredfred/a%2Fb%2Fc

    http://example.org/{bar}{-prefix|/|fred}
    http://example.org/fred/fred//wilma

    {-neg|:|corge}{-suffix|:|plugh}
    :%E1%B9%A1:%E1%B9%A1:

    ../{waldo}/
    ../ben%20%26%20jerrys/

    telnet:192.0.2.16{-opt|:80|grault}
    telnet:192.0.2.16:80

     :{1-a_b.c}:
     :200:

   ----


5.  Security Considerations

   A URI Template does not contain active or executable content.  Other
   security considerations are the same as those for URIs, see section 7
   of RFC3986.


6.  IANA Considerations

   In common with RFC3986, URI scheme names form a registered namespace
   that is managed by IANA according to the procedures defined in
   [RFC4395].  No IANA actions are required by this document.



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7.  Appendix A - Parsing URI Template Expansions

   Parsing a valid URI Template expansion does not require building a
   parser from the given ABNF.  Instead, the set of allowed characters
   in each part of URI Template expansion has been chosen to avoid
   complex parsing, and breaking an expansion into its component parts
   can be achieved by a series of splits of the character string.

   Here is example Python code that parses a URI Template expansion and
   returns the operator, argument, and variables as a tuple.  The
   variables are returned as a dictionary of variable names mapped to
   their default values.  If no default is given then the name maps to
   None.

    def parse_expansion(expansion):
       if "|" in expansion:
           (op, arg, vars_) = expansion.split("|")
           op = op[1:]
       else:
           (op, arg, vars_) = (None, None, expansion)
       vars_ = vars_.split(",")

       variables = {}
       for var in vars_:
           if "=" in var:
               (varname, vardefault) = var.split("=")
           else:
               (varname, vardefault) = (var, None)
           variables[varname] = vardefault

       return (op, arg, variables)

   And here is an example of the parse_expansion() function being used.

   >>> parse_expansion("-join|&|a,b,c=1")
   ('join', '&', {'a': None, 'c': '1', 'b': None})
   >>> parse_expansion("c=1")
   (None, None, {'c': '1'})


8.  Normative References

   [ASCII]    American National Standards Institute, "Coded Character
              Set - 7-bit American Standard Code for Information
              Interchange", ANSI X3.4, 1986.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.



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   [RFC2978]  Freed, N. and J. Postel, "IANA Charset Registration
              Procedures", BCP 19, RFC 2978, October 2000.

   [RFC3629]  Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO
              10646", STD 63, RFC 3629, November 2003.

   [RFC3986]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, "Uniform
              Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax", STD 66,
              RFC 3986, January 2005.

   [RFC4395]  Hansen, T., Hardie, T., and L. Masinter, "Guidelines and
              Registration Procedures for New URI Schemes", BCP 115,
              RFC 4395, February 2006.

   [RFC5234]  Crocker, D. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
              Specifications: ABNF", STD 68, RFC 5234, January 2008.

   [UNIV4]    The Unicode Consortium, "The Unicode Standard, Version
              4.0.1, defined by: The Unicode Standard, Version 4.0
              (Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley, 2003. ISBN 0-321-18578-1),
              as amended by Unicode 4.0.1
              (http://www.unicode.org/versions/Unicode4.0.1/)",
              March 2004.

   [UTR15]    Davis, M. and M. Duerst, "Unicode Normalization Forms",
              Unicode Standard Annex # 15, April 2003.

   [1]  <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/uri/>


Appendix A.  Contributors

   The following people made significant contributions to this
   specification: Michaeljohn Clement, DeWitt Clinton, John Cowan, James
   H. Manger, and James Snell.


Appendix B.  Revision History

   03 - Added more examples.  Introduced error conditions and defined
   their handling.  Changed listjoin to list.  Changed -append to
   -suffix, and allowed -prefix and -suffix to accept list variables.
   Clarified the handling of unicode.

   02 - Added operators and came up with coherent percent-encoding and
   reserved character story.  Added large examples section which is
   extracted and tested against the implementation.




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   01

   00 - Initial Revision.


Authors' Addresses

   Joe Gregorio (editor)
   Google

   Email: joe@bitworking.org
   URI:   http://bitworking.org/


   Marc Hadley (editor)
   Sun Microsystems

   Email: Marc.Hadley@sun.com
   URI:   http://sun.com/


   Mark Nottingham (editor)

   Email: mnot@pobox.com
   URI:   http://mnot.net/


   David Orchard
   BEA Systems, Inc.

   Email: dorchard@bea.com
   URI:   http://bea.com/



















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Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2008).

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Gregorio, et al.       Expires September 27, 2008              [Page 16]


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