W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-hydra@w3.org > June 2014

RE: Specifying operations for instances

From: McBennett, Pat <McBennettP@DNB.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2014 02:53:25 -0500
To: Markus Lanthaler <markus.lanthaler@gmx.net>, "public-hydra@w3.org" <public-hydra@w3.org>
Message-ID: <52EE3F4A5E7F194A963FE14B2DDBDBFE2CC1C2EDD0@DNBEXCH01.dnbint.net>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Markus Lanthaler [mailto:markus.lanthaler@gmx.net]
> Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2014 8:09 PM
> To: public-hydra@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Specifying operations for instances
> 
> On 14 Jun 2014 at 23:27, Tomasz Pluskiewicz wrote:
> > On Sat, Jun 14, 2014 at 9:20 PM, Markus Lanthaler wrote:
> >> On 13 Jun 2014 at 10:02, Tomasz Pluskiewicz wrote:
> >>> It's like saying the every HTTP resource has the GET, POST, PUT,
> >>> PATCH etc actions supported and one should assume that they are
> >>> supported. But
> >>
> >> Why is it the same?
> >>
> >> You explicitly state that a resource is of a certain type. You also
> >> state that all instances of
> > that type support operations X and Y. Finally, you state again that
> > that specific resource supports operation X. Why should that imply that Y
> isn't supported?
> >>
> >
> > It all boils down to defining what supporting an operation means. Let
> > me reword my HTTP analogy. Having a resource, that we know exists,
> > implies that it supports the HTTP verbs. But requesting OPTIONS would
> > hypothetically tell us that only GET is actually allowed. Maybe due to
> > the current state of the resource or the nature of the requesting
> > client (ie. authorization etc.). We could try any other method but we
> > are bound to get a 405 Method Not Allowed response.
> 
> That's a fallacy. You are not bound to get a 405. The likelihood of getting it
> will be much higher, I agree. But the result OPTIONS returns is just a hint. The
> moment you receive, it might already be outdated. You have to accept that
> you are working with a massively distributed system. Things don't work they
> they do on a single machine.
> 
> You should look at "supported operations" the same way. It is a hint the
> server provides the client. It neither has to be an exhaustive list of *all*
> operations that are supported by the server nor does it mean that if a client
> invokes such an operation that it succeeds (or that the server still supports it
> for that matter). I know this is not what most people want to hear but there's
> no way round it in a distributed system without central coordination.
> 
> 
> > With hypermedia we're one level higher but I think the issue is
> > similar. Let's move to a more real-world example. We know that there
> > exists a resource, which as instance of class ForumPost. The ForumPost
> > class supports simple PUT and DELETE. However some buisness rule could
> > say that user that created the post can delete it. So if any other
> > user has authenticated, the DELETE operation will not be inculded in
> > the post's representation.
> 
> Right.
> 
> 
> > I understand that the resource still supports the DELETE because it is
> > an instance of the ForumPost class. But in very practical terms, would
> > you consider the absence of the DELETE operation in the instance's
> > representation a good enough clue for the client not to render a
> > delete button?
> 
> Yes, with the caveat that the ApiDocumentation doesn't tell me otherwise.
> 

Ok, I totally agree here, but this seems to be contradicted below at [1]...

> 
> >>> And actually I'm surprised that you would treat supportedOperations
> >>> and operation properties equally. If so why actually have two
> >>> properties in the first place?
> >>
> >> If there would just be one property, "operation", what would
> >>
> >>     http://www.example.com/a/Class operation ....
> >>
> >> mean? Would it mean that all instances of that class support that
> >> operation? Or would it
> > mean that http://www.example.com/a/Class supports that operation?
> > Having two properties makes this unambiguous.
> >>
> >
> > Of course, that makes sense! I meant something else though, that you
> >
> > Actually, it has just crossed my mind that maybe the 'operation'
> > predicate isn't named just right. SupportedOperation indeed makes
> > intuitive sense, that instances of that class can be potentially
> > interacted using the described operations. How about calling the other
> > predicate 'allowedOperation' instead. Thus one would imply that
> > requesting any other supported operation could *potentially* yield a
> > 405 status code? Or would you think it's semantics were too strong?
> 
> Yes. It would also foster the wrong impression that allowedOperations
> cannot yield a 405 status code.
> 
> 
> >>> I think I see your point better now. You suggest that the
> >>> application could keep the ApiDocumentation and then choose whatever
> >>> relevant operations should be added to a resource instance? I agree
> >>> that it's
> >>
> >> You have the choice. You can describe all operations in the API
> >> documentation if you want and then add/remove them from resources by
> >>   - asserting that the resource is/is not an instance of a specific classes
> >>   - add/remove properties from the representation
> >>   - reference those operations directly from the representation
> >
> > Do you mean API documentation or resource representation?
> 
> I meant adding/removing them from the resource representations but
> actually you can do it as well in the API documentation as well. It’s a
> resource as every other in that regard.
> 
> 
> >>> up to the client to interpret it as it sees fit. However I still
> >>> think that Hydra itself should be a more precise tool with if not
> >>> rules, at least some guidelines on the semantics behind operations.
> >>
> >> This doesn't make Hydra less precise. It just means that there are
> >> multiple ways to achieve
> > the same thing. Generally, we should try to avoid that but in this
> > specific instance I think it's a quite valuable feature.
> >
> > I'm sorry. now I don't understand. Which is the valuable feature?
> 
> That you can associate an operation to a) a resource directly, b) a property,
> and c) a class.
> 
> 
> >> I don't really understand what you mean by "if not rules". What
> >> "guidelines on the semantics behind operations" are missing in your
> >> opinion?
> >
> > Poor wording in my last sentence. I meant the guidelines would be more
> > appropriate than rules.
> >
> > I think what's missing is or vague is:
> > 1. what clients should assume if a resource representation has some
> > but not all of the supported operations defined by it's class
> 
> The operations associated to the resource itself and the ones associated to
> its class are merged. After that, they are indistinguishable. Again, it doesn't
> matter where the operations are asserted.
> 

[1]... but if this is the correct assumption, then won't the client always have to render the DELETE button in the example above? There seems to be a clear inconsistency here...

(Great discussion by the way  - kudos to you both :) !)

> 
> > 2. what clients should assume if a resource representation doesn't
> > include any operations explicitly
> 
> Same as above.
> 
> 
> > And actually I looked at example 10, where it says "This is often
> > helpful when certain operations depend on the permissions of the
> > current user. It makes it, e.g., possible to show a "delete" link only
> > if the current user has the permission to delete the resource.
> > Otherwise, the link would simply be hidden in the representation.".
> > Does it mean the API documentation representation?
> 
> Representation:
> 
>   {
>     "@id": "/posts/1",
>     "@type": "ForumPost",
>     "title": "My awesome post",
>     ...
>     "delete": "/posts/1"
>   }
> 
> Depending on the user's permissions, you either include or exclude that
> "delete" property from the representation.
> 
> 
> 
> --
> Markus Lanthaler
> @markuslanthaler
> 

Received on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 07:53:58 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 15:53:59 UTC