how to know variable metadata for resource modification

From: Justus Pendleton <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 16:53:32 +1100

Apologies if this is too REST-theoretical for the Jersey mailing list,

Something I have been struggling with for the past few days is how (and
where) to represent metadata about a POST (or PATCH) if my application
allows run-time configuration of the actual representation of my media

For instance, if I can POST to /forests to create a new Forest I need to
know what exactly I should be POSTing. My understanding is that, in an
ideal world, clients know a priori what the answer to that question is.
Unfortunately, in my legacy application from a non-ideal world
administrator's could enable a switch making "property-owner" become a
required field. If you POST without it you'll get an error. Clients
would like to know that kind of thing without first having to submit a
POST but where should they do a GET to discover that?

GET /forests (Accept: forest.metadata.xml)
GET /forests-creation-metadata
GET /forests/creation-metadata

Any ideas and suggestions, theoretical or practical, on how you'd handle
something like this would be appreciated,