HTTP Method Negotiation

If your API is to adhere to the Richardson Maturity Model Level 2 or higher, you will be using HTTP verbs to interact with it: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and PATCH being the most common. However, based on the resource and whether or not the end point is a collection, you may want to allow different HTTP methods. How can you do that? and how do you enforce it?

HTTP provides functionality around this topic via another HTTP method, OPTIONS, and a related HTTP response header, Allow.

Calls to OPTIONS are non-cacheable and may provide a response body if desired. They should emit an Allow header detailing which HTTP request methods are allowed on the current URI.

Consider the following request:

OPTIONS /api/user HTTP/1.1

with its response:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Allow: GET, POST

This tells us that for the URI /api/user, you may emit either a GET or POST request.

What happens if a malicious user tries something else? You should respond with a 405 Not Allowed status, and indicate what is allowed:

HTTP/1.1 405 Not Allowed
Allow: GET, POST

Apigility takes care of these details for you. For each service, you can indicate which HTTP methods to respond to (and, in the case of REST services, also separate those calls by whether an entity is being addressed, or a collection); Apigility will then respond to OPTIONS requests, and return 405 statuses for invalid HTTP methods.

As an example, the following RPC service indicates only the GET method is available:

RPC HTTP Methods

The next example is a REST service. REST services can respond for either collections (the URI without an identifier) or entities (the URI with an identifier). As such, you need to configure two sets of HTTP methods:


In the above case, when accessing the collection, you can use either GET or POST, but when accessing an individual item in the collection (an entity) only GET is allowed.