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Network Working Group                                           M. Kelly
Internet-Draft                                                 Stateless
Intended status: Informational                             June 19, 2012
Expires: December 21, 2012


                  JSON Hypertext Application Language
                        draft-kelly-json-hal-01

Abstract

   This document proposes a media type for representing resources with
   hyperlinks.

Status of this Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on December 21, 2012.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2012 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.






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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   2.  Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   3.  HAL Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   4.  Resource Objects  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
     4.1.  Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
     4.2.  Embedded Resources  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   5.  Link Objects  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
     5.1.  href  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
     5.2.  templated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
     5.3.  title . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
     5.4.  hreflang  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   6.  Example Document  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   7.  Media Type Parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
     7.1.  profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   8.  Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
     8.1.  Link relations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
   9.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
   10. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
   11. Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
   Appendix A.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
   Appendix B.  Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
     B.1.  How should a client know the
           meaning/structure/semantics/type of a resource? . . . . . . 9
     B.2.  Where can I find libraries for working with HAL?  . . . . . 9
     B.3.  Why are the reserved properties prefixed with an
           underscore? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
     B.4.  Are all underscore-prefixed properties reserved?  . . . . . 9
     B.5.  Why does HAL have no forms? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9




















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1.  Introduction

   There is an emergence of non-HTML HTTP applications ("Web APIs")
   which use hyperlinks to direct clients around their resources.

   The JSON Hypertext Application Language (HAL) is a standard which
   establishes conventions for expressing hyperlinks with JSON
   [RFC4627].

   HAL is a generic media type with which Web APIs can be developed and
   exposed as series of links.  Clients of these APIs can select links
   by their link relation type and traverse them in order to progress
   through the application.

   HAL's conventions result in a uniform interface for serving and
   consuming hypertext, enabling the creation of general-purpose
   libraries that can be re-used on any API utilising HAL.

   The primary design goals of HAL are generality and simplicity.  HAL
   can be applied to many different domains, and imposes the minimal
   amount of structure necessary to cover the key hypertext requirements
   (links and embedded documents).


2.  Requirements

   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].


3.  HAL Documents

   A HAL Document uses the format described in [RFC4627] and has the
   media type "application/hal+json".

   Its root object MUST be a Resource Object.

   For example:












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   GET /orders/523 HTTP/1.1
   Host: example.org
   Accept: application/hal+json

   HTTP/1.1 200 OK
   Content-Type: application/hal+json

   {
     "_links": {
       "self": { "href": "/orders/523" },
       "warehouse": { "href": "/warehouse/56" },
       "invoice": { "href": "/invoices/873" }
     },
     "currency": "USD",
     "status": "shipped",
     "total": 10.20
   }

   Here, we have a HAL document representing an order resource with the
   URI "/orders/523".  It has "warehouse" and "invoice" links, and its
   own state in the form of "currency", "status", and "total"
   properties.


4.  Resource Objects

   A Resource Object represents a resource.

   It has two reserved properties "_links" and "_embedded", which
   represent Links and Embedded Resources respectively.

   All other properties MUST be valid JSON, and represent the current
   state of the resource.

4.1.  Links

   The reserved "_links" property is REQUIRED.

   It is an object whose property names are link relation types (as
   defined by [RFC5988]) and values are either a Link Object or an array
   of Link Objects.  The subject resource of these links is the Resource
   Object of which the containing "_links" object is a property.

   It MUST have a "self" property whose value is a Link Object who's
   target SHOULD be the URI of the subject resource.






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4.2.  Embedded Resources

   The reserved "_embedded" property is OPTIONAL

   It is an object whose property names are link relation types (as
   defined by [RFC5988]) and values are either a Resource Object or an
   array of Resource Objects.


5.  Link Objects

   A Link Object represents a hyperlink.  It has the following
   properties:

5.1.  href

   The "href" property is REQUIRED.

   Its value is either a URI [RFC3986] or a URI Template [RFC6570].

   If the value is a URI Template then the Link Object SHOULD have a
   "templated" attribute whose value is true.

5.2.  templated

   The "templated" property is OPTIONAL.

   Its value is boolean and SHOULD be true when the Link Object's "href"
   property is a URI Template.

   Its value SHOULD be considered false if it is undefined or any other
   value than true.

5.3.  title

   The "title" property is OPTIONAL.

   Its value is a string and is intended for labeling the link with a
   human-readable identifier (as defined by [RFC5988]).

5.4.  hreflang

   The "hreflang" property is OPTIONAL.

   Its value is a string and is intended for indicating the language of
   the target resource (as defined by [RFC5988]).





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6.  Example Document

   The following is an example document representing a list of orders

   GET /orders HTTP/1.1
   Host: example.org
   Accept: application/hal+json

   HTTP/1.1 200 OK
   Content-Type: application/hal+json

   {
     "_links": {
       "self": { "href": "/orders" },
       "next": { "href": "/orders?page=2" },
       "find": { "href": "/orders{?id}", "templated": true }
     },
     "_embedded": {
       "orders": [{
           "_links": {
             "self": { "href": "/orders/123" },
             "basket": { "href": "/baskets/98712" },
             "customer": { "href": "/customers/7809" }
           },
           "total": 30.00,
           "currency": "USD",
           "status": "shipped",
         },{
           "_links": {
             "self": { "href": "/orders/124" },
             "basket": { "href": "/baskets/97213" },
             "customer": { "href": "/customers/12369" }
           },
           "total": 20.00,
           "currency": "USD",
           "status": "processing"
       }]
     },
     "currentlyProcessing": 14,
     "shippedToday": 20
   }

   Here, the order list document provides a "next" link directing to the
   next page, and a "find" link containing a URI Template which can be
   expanded with an 'id' variable to go directly to a specific order.

   It also has two embedded resources, "orders".  Each of these has its
   own links to the associated "basket" and "customer" resources, and



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   properties showing their "total", "currency" and "status".

   Additionally, the order list resource has its own properties
   "currentlyProcessing" and "shippedToday".


7.  Media Type Parameters

7.1.  profile

   The media type identifier application/hal+json MAY also include an
   additional "profile" parameter (as defined by
   [I-D.wilde-profile-link])


8.  Recommendations

8.1.  Link relations

   Custom link relation types (Extension Relation Types in [RFC5988])
   SHOULD be URIs that when dereferenced in a web browser provide
   relevant documentation, in the form of an HTML page, about the
   meaning and/or behaviour of the target Resource.  This will improve
   the disocverability of your API.

   The CURIE Syntax [W3C.NOTE-curie-20101216] MAY be used for brevity
   for these URIs.  A CURIE is established within a HAL document via a
   "curie" link on the root Resource Object.  This link contains a URI
   Template with the token 'rel', and is named via the "name" property
   of the Link Object.

   {
     "_links": {
       "self": { "href": "/orders" },
       "curie": {
         "name": "acme",
         "href": "http://docs.acme.com/relations/{rel}",
         "templated": true
       },
       "acme:widgets": { "href": "/widgets" }
     }
   }

   The above demonstrates the relation
   "http://docs.acme.com/relations/widgets" being abbreviated to "acme:
   widgets" via CURIE syntax.





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9.  Security Considerations

   TBD


10.  IANA Considerations

   TBD


11.  Normative References

   [I-D.wilde-profile-link]
              Wilde, E., "The 'profile' Link Relation Type",
              draft-wilde-profile-link-02 (work in progress), June 2012.

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

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

   [RFC4627]  Crockford, D., "The application/json Media Type for
              JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)", RFC 4627, July 2006.

   [RFC5988]  Nottingham, M., "Web Linking", RFC 5988, October 2010.

   [RFC6570]  Gregorio, J., Fielding, R., Hadley, M., Nottingham, M.,
              and D. Orchard, "URI Template", RFC 6570, March 2012.

   [W3C.NOTE-curie-20101216]
              McCarron, S. and M. Birbeck, "CURIE Syntax 1.0", World
              Wide Web Consortium NOTE NOTE-curie-20101216,
              December 2010,
              <http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/NOTE-curie-20101216>.

   [1]  <http://stateless.co/hal_specification.html>


Appendix A.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks to Darrel Miller, Mike Amundsen, and everyone in hal-discuss
   for their suggestions and feedback.

   The author takes all responsibility for errors and omissions.





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Appendix B.  Frequently Asked Questions

B.1.  How should a client know the meaning/structure/semantics/type of a
      resource?

   There are two main approaches to solving this problem.  Both involve
   exposing additional documentation describing the resource which may
   be human and/or machine readable (i.e. an HTML page and/or a JSON
   Schema document).  The difference between the two approaches is in
   where that URI is shared with the client, which is either:
   (1)  The URI that was the preceding link relation type.
   (2)  A 'profile' link from the resource itself.

B.2.  Where can I find libraries for working with HAL?

   A list of libraries is maintained and published at the HAL Home
   Page [1]

B.3.  Why are the reserved properties prefixed with an underscore?

   We elected for a prefix character to minimize risk of collisions with
   properties that represent the resource's state, and underscore was
   the character picked.

   Another reason for prefixing the reserved properties is to make it
   visually apparent that the reserved properties are distinct from
   standard properties belonging to the resource.

B.4.  Are all underscore-prefixed properties reserved?

   No, HAL only reserves the names detailed in this specification.

B.5.  Why does HAL have no forms?

   Omitting forms from HAL was an intentional design descision that was
   made to keep it focused on linking for APIs.  HAL is therefore a good
   candidate for use as a base media type on which to build more complex
   capabilities.  An additional media type is planned for the future
   which will add form-like controls on top of HAL.












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Author's Address

   Mike Kelly
   Stateless

   Email: mike@stateless.co
   URI:   http://stateless.co/












































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