MachineActionableLinkScenarios

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Web architecture encourages client software that is designed as an agent in a dynamic information space (Charlton, 2012). This is enabled by one of the fundamentals of REST architecture (Fielding, 2000; Fielding, 2008), 'hypermedia as the engine of application state' (HATEOS). Understanding this rather arcane concept is central to understanding modern web applications and architecture. The idea is that a web application is a software agent that retrieves documents from the web, and follows instructions contained in those documents to move towards a goal. The application starts with some objective, and a link to retrieve a hypermedia document that contains the initial instructions. Application logic consists of inspecting the instructions in the document, determining which instructions to follow, and executing those instructions. The logic may involve requesting user input to make choices or to provide information (fill out forms) necessary to complete the process; such user input is well accounted for by the hypermedia controls offered by HTML. This investigation is focused on links in documents that are intended to be processed by machine agents

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