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Patent Issued for Documentation Generation for Web APIs Based on Byte Code Analysis

July 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- A patent by the inventors Hale, Joseph Benjamin (Southampton, GB); Wilkinson, Andrew (Southampton, GB), filed on July 31, 2012, was published online on June 17, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8756568 is assigned to Pivotal Software, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Web services have become an increasingly popular method for providing users, developers, and system administrators with information technology services. In the context of web development, a web service typically uses a pre-defined set of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request messages and a pre-defined set of response messages having a pre-determined structure. A popular architecture known as Representational State Transfer (REST) constrains the pre-defined set of request messages to a set of well-known, standard operations (in the case of HTTP: 'GET,' 'POST,' 'PUT,' 'DELETE').

"Web developers that wish to use the web service must program their applications to send requests that exactly comply with the pre-defined messages and to process responses in the pre-determined structure, usually expressed in an Extensible Markup Language (XML) or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format. The provider of the web service typically creates API documentation that describes how request messages must be transmitted and what response messages can be expected. However, as web services and other APIs are developed, it may be difficult for the developer of the web service to create documentation that is accurate and up-to-date with the latest version of the web service. Conventional approaches have placed documentation of a web application within the source code as in-line programming comments. However, this approach becomes unwieldy as the amount of documentation begins to outgrow the amount of programming code in a particular file. Further, programming comments within source code are generally not available to the public or may be written in a form not suitable for public disclosure."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "One or more embodiments of the present invention provide techniques for generating documentation of a web service. In accordance with these techniques, bytecode for an application is submitted for analysis. Metadata contained within the bytecode and that specifies the functionality of the web service is extracted and used as a template and basis for documentation. Further, a second source of documentation is contributed by the web service developer and merged with the metadata extracted from the bytecode.

"Embodiments of the present invention describe a method for generating documentation for an application configured to receive and process requests for a resource over a network. The method includes extracting annotations that are stored with machine-executable instructions of the application. The annotations may include syntactic metadata for a portion of the machine-executable instructions that is for processing the request. The method further includes generating documentation based on the extracted annotations, wherein the documentation includes information about the resource made available by the application.

"Further embodiments of the present invention include a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium comprising instructions that, when executed in a computing device, perform an operation to generate documentation for an application configured to receive and process requests for a resource over a network. The operation may include extracting annotations that are stored with machine-executable instructions of the application, wherein the annotations include syntactic metadata for a portion of the machine-executable instructions that is for processing the request. The operation further includes generating documentation based on the extracted annotations, wherein the documentation includes information about the resource made available by the application.

"Another embodiment of the present invention includes a computer system for generating documentation for an application configured to receive and process requests for a resource over a network. The computer system comprises a system memory and a processor. The processor is programmed to carry out the steps of extracting annotations that are stored with machine-executable instructions of the application, wherein the annotations include syntactic metadata for a portion of the machine-executable instructions that is for processing the request. The processor is further programmed to carry out the step of generating documentation based on the extracted annotations, wherein the documentation includes information about the resource made available by the application."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Hale, Joseph Benjamin; Wilkinson, Andrew. Documentation Generation for Web APIs Based on Byte Code Analysis. U.S. Patent Number 8756568, filed July 31, 2012, and published online on June 17, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8756568.PN.&OS=PN/8756568RS=PN/8756568

Keywords for this news article include: Pivotal Software Inc..

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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