Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 365–387 | Cite as

Capturing the functionality of Web services with functional descriptions

  • Ruben VerborghEmail author
  • Thomas Steiner
  • Davy Van Deursen
  • Jos De Roo
  • Rik Van de Walle
  • Joaquim Gabarró Vallés


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.


Semantic Web Service description Service discovery 



The authors wish to thank Niklas Lindström for his help with the CoIN vocabulary and Mark Nottingham for his suggestion on HTTP header line folding.

The research activities as described in this paper were funded by Ghent University, the Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology (IBBT), the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT), the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO Flanders), and the European Union.

This work was partially supported by the European Commission under Grant No. 248296 FP7 I-SEARCH project. Joaquim Gabarró is partially supported by TIN-2007-66523 (FORMALISM), and SGR 2009-2015 (ALBCOM).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruben Verborgh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Steiner
    • 2
  • Davy Van Deursen
    • 1
  • Jos De Roo
    • 3
  • Rik Van de Walle
    • 1
  • Joaquim Gabarró Vallés
    • 2
  1. 1.ELIS – Multimedia LabGhent University – IBBTLedeberg-GhentBelgium
  2. 2.Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya – Department LSIBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Agfa HealthcareGentBelgium

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