So, a bunch of us were sitting in the hotel bar last night, and came  
to the conclusion that it would be useful to start capturing  
information about Web description in a more organised fashion. As a  
result, I've seeded a bunch of pages on the W3C's ESW wiki, starting at:

Please have a look and add what you can.

One of the more interesting -- and promising -- things we discussed  
was the thought of capturing patterns of use for HTTP.

A description format -- inevitably -- can't describe everything about  
an application; by its nature, it's incomplete. One of the problems  
I'm concerned about is that because of this, any description format  
that gets standardised (or even widespread adoption) will unavoidably  
encourage some patterns of use and discourage others. Note that this  
isn't the case with existing prose descriptions of Web APIs; it's  
only when you try to abstract out a generic description format that  
you have this problem.

Therefore, it would be best to collect patterns of use by examining  
existing Web applications, APIs, standards that use HTTP, and tools  
that implement it, so that we can figure out which patterns are  
common, which ones give the most benefits within the architecture,  
and so forth. With some work, this will help inform the creation of  
formats so that they don't needlessly cut off some applications, or  
encourage bad patterns (for some value of bad).

Look in WebDescriptionExamples and WebDescriptionPatterns for more  
(and to add!). I've just listed a few potential patterns to start  
with, and will try to flesh them out in time.


Mark Nottingham

Received on Thursday, 10 November 2005 03:51:21 UTC