Reading books on REST architecture(especially O'Reilly) many times I came across the idea that one should attach data's description into link http header.

    Link: <http://example.com/contactmanagement/profile>; rel="profile"
    Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2017 06:47:25 GMT
    Content-Length: ??

Where profile is URI pointing into data description(profile). There are several profile formats:

  1. ALPS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application-Level_Profile_Semantics_(ALPS))

  2. Microformats (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microformat)

  3. HAL (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext_Application_Language)

It seems that profiles are mostly used in areas of academic researches right now rather then enterprise applications. I'm wondering does anyone use them?

1 Answer 1


While this kind of metadata is undeniably useful to a human or a magic self-discovering client, it suffers the same problem as HATEOAS...

Usually you are making millions of identical calls via clients that already know the data format, so including human-readable or machine-discoverable links and other metadata needlessly adds to your bandwidth consumption, which tends to cost real money.

  • 2
    I would even go so far as to say that, contrary to the popular fashion, most clients don't even require a RESTful interface. They just need a decent JSON API. Aug 7, 2018 at 20:37
  • What about scenario when you are building service consumed by independent clients? I mean services located in Internet (non enterprise). In that case API must be documented anyway - are they document it in profile formats?
    – nikita
    Aug 8, 2018 at 6:36
  • I think swagger is widely used : swagger.io/solutions/api-documentation
    – Ewan
    Aug 8, 2018 at 7:00

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