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A profile is a client-centric interaction definition that gives an API client information on how to use a resource. The HTTP profile header declares the Level 3 profiles that a resource supports. The profiles link to documentation describing the profile’s interaction model and semantics.


Resource implementations can support multiple Level 3 profiles in a single resource. Each profile definition encourages implementations to support related mixin profiles. For example, the Content profile recommends supporting the Preflight profile to provide a better user upload experience. These mixin profiles are defined to be used in conjunction with other profiles to improve their capabilities but do not make sense as standalone resource profiles.

Diagram Headers

The profile definitions contain multiple diagrams that show the interactions between a client and the resource. Each definition contains a “Discovery” section which declares the headers it returns with all operation responses. For clarity, all subsequent diagrams do not repeat these headers unless they are relevant to the discussion. In practice, a client can expect to see the full set of headers in every operation.

HTTP has additional headers and status codes to represent authorization, content-negotiation and other concerns. An API may respond with these to inform the client of its interaction requirements. Level 3 profiles do not describe these universally, but a client can expect to encounter them and operate accordingly.

Profile Listing


See WebDAV’s profile header for details on the inspiration of Level 3’s profile header.

See RFC 6906 for an explanation of the profile concept.

© 2019-2023 Matt Bishop
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