Proposal for API Refactoring

The DataONE service APIs currently contain methods that are grouped by the general category of functionality provided. For example, the CRUD API contains methods that support create, read, update, and delete operations against the Member Nodes. Such a grouping is convenient for development activities, however does not relate well to the overall functionality that must be expressed by a Member Node to participate at different “tiers” within the DataONE federation. A particular MN might operate in a read-only manner and so must express only a small selection of methods pulled from several different APIs as they are currently defined.

Further complicating the division of methods between APIs is the need to support versioning of services. Current versioning operates across the entire set of APIs and thus requires that a service implements all methods of a single version. A more granular approach would versioning at the API level, so that in many cases (where there are no inter-dependencies) it will be possible to update a set of methods without affecting other methods, and so service update on a particular node can be more progressive, and so less disruptive to ongoing operations.

Grouping the methods into API definitions more aligned with the functionality that should be exposed by different classes or tiers of nodes should also simplify the overall process of node service updates since the entire group of methods can be updated rather than working with methods pulled from different method groups of different versions to define the service that must be implemented by a particular Member Node.

This document outlines a strategy for refactoring the APIs to better align with the tiers of Member Nodes that are likely to participate in the DataONE federation.

Member Node Tiers

Five tiers of Member Node functionality have currently been identified:

Tier 1

Public read, no Authn/Authz

Tier 2

Read/Resolve with Authn/Authz

Tier 3

Write (create, update, delete), possibly limited support for data types

Tier 4

Limited Replication target (specified data types)

Tier 5

Replication target, any data types

The methods that must be supported by each of these are indicated in Table 1.

Table 1. DataONE service methods supported at different tiers of Member Node functionality. (*)Authentication and Authorization APIs are under active development and may change from the specifications listed here.


Existing APIs

Proposed API



MN_health, MN_crud


ping, getCapabilities, getStatus, [getObjectStatistics], [getOperationStatistics], [getLogRecords]

Tier 1

MN_crud, MN_replication, MN_health


get, getSystemMetadata, listObjects, describe, getChecksum, synchronizationFailed

Tier 2

MN_authorization, MN_authentication


MNCore + login(*), logout(*), isAuthorized(*), setAccess(*)

Tier 3



MNAuth + create, update, delete,

Tier 4



MNStorage + replicate

Tier 5

MNReplicationCore (no additional methods)