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Representation Profile (Mixin)

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Resources that accept POST, PUT or PATCH requests may or may not return a representation in the response. The client might want the response returned, however, to save a subsequent GET request, or to omit a returned representation to save transmission time. The Representation profile gives a client the ability to specify that they prefer the created or modified representation returned with the response or omitted from the response.


Resources that support the Representation profile include the Representation profile header in its list of profile headers.

Return Representation

The client sends a prefer: return=representation header indicating that they want the content of the representation returned with the response. This header saves them from having to issue a GET request to fetch the state. The resource returns a status of 200 OK instead of 204 No Content for PUT and PATCH operations. In the case of a POST response, the location header will be omitted. Instead, the response will have a content-location header that indicates the URI for the full representation.

Some profiles (see Action and Lookup) use the POST operation and return a redirect status code such as 303 or 307 along with a location header that the client follows to retrieve the resource. When a resource implements the Representation mixin, and the client sends prefer: return=representation in their request, the resource will return the resource representation instead of a redirect status.

Omit Representation

The Prefer header parameter return also accepts the value minimal which tells the resource to return no representation and instead return the normal status code for that resource operation. POST operations will add the appropriate location header.


HTTP/1.1 Semantics and Content: RFC 7231

prefer Header for HTTP: RFC 7240

© 2019-2023 Matt Bishop
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