A Catalogue of Inter-parameter Dependencies in RESTful Web APIs

  • Alberto Martin-LopezEmail author
  • Sergio Segura
  • Antonio Ruiz-Cortés
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11895)


Web services often impose dependency constraints that restrict the way in which two or more input parameters can be combined to form valid calls to the service. Unfortunately, current specification languages for web services like the OpenAPI Specification provide no support for the formal description of such dependencies, which makes it hardly possible to automatically discover and interact with services without human intervention. Researchers and practitioners are openly requesting support for modelling and validating dependencies among input parameters in web APIs, but this is not possible unless we share a deep understanding of how dependencies emerge in practice—the aim of this work. In this paper, we present a thorough study on the presence of dependency constraints among input parameters in web APIs in industry. The study is based on a review of more than 2.5K operations from 40 real-world RESTful APIs from multiple application domains. Overall, our findings show that input dependencies are the norm, rather than the exception, with 85% of the reviewed APIs having some kind of dependency among their input parameters. As the main outcome of our study, we present a catalogue of seven types of dependencies consistently found in RESTful web APIs.


Web services Constraints Parameter dependencies 



This work has been partially supported by the European Commission (FEDER) and Spanish Government under projects BELI (TIN2015-70560-R) and HORATIO (RTI2018-101204-B-C21), and the FPU scholarship program, granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (FPU17/04077). We would also like to thank Enrique Barba Roque and Julián Gómez Rodríguez for their help in analysing the documentation of some of the APIs considered for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Martin-Lopez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sergio Segura
    • 1
  • Antonio Ruiz-Cortés
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Languages and SystemsUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain

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