[ANN] Manifesto and roadmaps for described_routes and path-to

Hi all, please read on if you’re interested in REST and web APIs.

I have posted roadmaps for described_routes and path-to (both
available as rubygems or at asplake’s github) at
The excerpt below is their manifesto. I would be very grateful for
comments, whether here or on the site.

[email protected]


Clients of RESTful web applications typically use prior knowledge of
the target application’s structure to generate URIs. This approach is
often very convenient, but much of this URI generation is hard-coded,
and (worse) spread across client code. This introduces a high degree
of coupling and makes clients unnecessarily vulnerable to server-side

Steps to improve this situation:

  1. In clients, centralise the generation of URIs and make the
    process driven by configuration data
  2. Have servers publish the required configuration data - i.e.
    application metadata - in a readily understood format

path-to provides the means for client applications to model web
applications in terms of logical structure and URI mappings, and to
interact with them through dynamically-generated application-specific
APIs. described_routes supports an application metadata structure
(published in JSON, YAML and XML formats) that can be consumed by path-
to, and (helpfully) generates it automatically online or offline from
the routes configured for a Rails-based application.

The two libraries can be used separately or together - an JavaScript
client is under independent development for example. Moreover, the
underlying metadata format is framework-neutral; we have been careful
not to “leak” Rails concepts into it.

This might make more sense with a concrete example - see
for metadata-driven API access to Delicious, brief writeup at


On May 7, 2:05 pm, “Mike Burrows (asplake)” [email protected]

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