Problem Details for HTTP APIs
RFC 7807

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (March 2016; No errata)
Last updated 2016-03-31
Replaces draft-nottingham-http-problem
Stream IETF
Formats plain text pdf html bibtex
Stream WG state Submitted to IESG for Publication Dec 2015
Document shepherd Murray Kucherawy
Shepherd write-up Show (last changed 2015-11-20)
IESG IESG state RFC 7807 (Proposed Standard)
Consensus Boilerplate Yes
Telechat date
Responsible AD Barry Leiba
Send notices to "Murray Kucherawy" <superuser@gmail.com>
IANA IANA review state Version Changed - Review Needed
IANA action state RFC-Ed-Ack
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                     M. Nottingham
Request for Comments: 7807                                        Akamai
Category: Standards Track                                       E. Wilde
ISSN: 2070-1721                                               March 2016

                     Problem Details for HTTP APIs

Abstract

   This document defines a "problem detail" as a way to carry machine-
   readable details of errors in a HTTP response to avoid the need to
   define new error response formats for HTTP APIs.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7807.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Nottingham & Wilde           Standards Track                    [Page 1]
RFC 7807                     Problem Details                  March 2016

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  The Problem Details JSON Object . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  Members of a Problem Details Object . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.2.  Extension Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   4.  Defining New Problem Types  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.1.  Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.2.  Predefined Problem Types  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     6.1.  application/problem+json  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     6.2.  application/problem+xml . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   Appendix A.  HTTP Problems and XML  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
   Appendix B.  Using Problem Details with Other Formats . . . . . .  15
   Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16

1.  Introduction

   HTTP [RFC7230] status codes are sometimes not sufficient to convey
   enough information about an error to be helpful.  While humans behind
   Web browsers can be informed about the nature of the problem with an
   HTML [W3C.REC-html5-20141028] response body, non-human consumers of
   so-called "HTTP APIs" are usually not.

   This specification defines simple JSON [RFC7159] and XML
   [W3C.REC-xml-20081126] document formats to suit this purpose.  They
   are designed to be reused by HTTP APIs, which can identify distinct
   "problem types" specific to their needs.

   Thus, API clients can be informed of both the high-level error class
   (using the status code) and the finer-grained details of the problem
   (using one of these formats).

   For example, consider a response that indicates that the client's
   account doesn't have enough credit.  The 403 Forbidden status code
   might be deemed most appropriate to use, as it will inform HTTP-
   generic software (such as client libraries, caches, and proxies) of
   the general semantics of the response.

   However, that doesn't give the API client enough information about
   why the request was forbidden, the applicable account balance, or how
   to correct the problem.  If these details are included in the

Nottingham & Wilde           Standards Track                    [Page 2]
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