Five JSON REST API Link Formats Compared

In this post I intend to compare five JSON REST API data formats which implement some form of resource linking.

Three Sentence Summary (TLDR)
Web services may benefit from providing links within resource representations, but no clear consensus exists for what these links should contain. By comparing several different formats for embedding links in REST APIs, we can infer some trends which may inform us when designing or consuming REST APIs. If we generalize based on the comparison of five different readily available REST API Link formats, we may conclude that service vendors who provide links are likely to only consistently support target URLs and relation types, while other features such as embedded resource metadata, documentation, and deprecation status are less likely to be supported consistently by vendors.

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