I'll See You on the Write Side of the Web

Stuart Charlton

While global-scale digital information sharing has become synonymous with REST, state manipulation remains an inconsistent experience. Many so-called "RESTful APIs" are specified out of band, through documentation, rather than in hypermedia. Developers struggle with constructing their own custom hypermedia-driven media types, falling back on lightweight site-specific data structures. And the few standardized publishing media types, such as the Atom
Publishing Protocol, have had limited adoption. All of this serves to undermine the serendipitous reuse of "writes", a quality we take for granted when dealing with "reads". Of course, state-changing actions are semantically much more difficult to describe generically than a simple HTTP GET, and it is an open question as to whether it's even possible to do so practically.

This talk will explore whether there's an opportunity to provide generalized media types and programming frameworks to assist with resource state manipulation, and what they might look like, drawing inspiration from other computing domains with dynamic environments, such as video games, robotics, and embedded systems controllers.