[uf-rest] Sitemaps as service descriptions

Mark Rickerby maetl at mcs.vuw.ac.nz
Tue Nov 15 19:15:06 PST 2005

> > While I think I tend to agree that a REST description language isn't
> > really needed, I was wondering if there could already be a standard
> > existing in terms of sitemap navigation pages.
> This reminded me of the Google Sitemap Protocol:
>    https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/protocol.html
> The purpose of this format was to instruct Google Bot where
> the resources on your site are and how frequently each of
> them changes.

Yup, that's a good point, and part of the reason why I was raising
this question: I haven't yet seen anything else that really covers
this space in as much detail.

>From a Microformats perspective, human readability is a significant
aspect that is missing from the XML sitemaps. One of the purposes of
any map is to simplify and clarify the view of relationships within a
space. A successful sitemap should be able to communicate the overall
"shape" of a site at a glance, as well as providing granular links to
resources that are both human and machine usable.

In some contexts, I definitely see sitemaps as being able to take the
place of service descriptions. But in other contexts, the service
description is more about URI construction than actually providing a
map to a set of resources. eg:


> In general the RESTy way is just to follow links from resource
> to resource. A sitemap is nice but it is not the strength of
> the Web.
> "hypertext as the engine of application state"

The sitemap is a resource itself - it just happens to be a very common
architectural idiom for websites at the visual/navigation level,
perhaps less so at the semantic level?

Just to reiterate, in a more broad sense - I'm interested in finding
out more about standards and approaches that present sitemaps, site
navigation and/or service descriptions in a human readable /
communicable way. Any of these approaches would no doubt be based on
hyperlinks, its more a question of what surrounds the hyperlinks...


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