Capturing the functionality of Web services with functional descriptions

Research paper by Ruben Verborgh, Thomas Steiner, Davy Van Deursen, Jos De Roo, Rik Van de Walle, Joaquim Gabarró Vallés

Indexed on: 05 Feb '12Published on: 05 Feb '12Published in: Multimedia Tools and Applications


Many have left their footprints on the field of semantic RESTful Web service description. Albeit some of the propositions are even W3C Recommendations, none of the proposed standards could gain significant adoption with Web service providers. Some approaches were supposedly too complex and verbose, others were considered not RESTful, and some failed to reach a significant majority of API providers for a combination of the reasons above. While we neither have the silver bullet for universal Web service description, with this paper, we want to suggest a lightweight approach called RESTdesc. It expresses the semantics of Web services by pre- and postconditions in simple N3 rules, and integrates existing standards and conventions such as Link headers, HTTP OPTIONS, and URI templates for discovery and interaction. This approach keeps the complexity to a minimum, yet still enables service descriptions with full semantic expressiveness. A sample implementation on the topic of multimedia Web services verifies the effectiveness of our approach.