Declarative-friendly interfaces

Many services need to interact with common DevOps tools, particularly those that create and manage network-addressable resources (such as virtual machines, load balancers, database instances, and so on). These tools revolve around the principle of "configuration as code": the user specifies the complete intended landscape, and tooling is responsible for making whatever changes are necessary to achieve the user's specification.

These tools are declarative: rather than specifying specific actions to take, they specify the desired outcome, with the actions being derived based on the differences between the current landscape and the intended one.

Furthermore, there are numerous popular DevOps tools, with more being introduced each year. Integrating hundreds of resource types with multiple tools requires uniformity, so that integration can be automated.



Resources that are declarative-friendly must use only strongly-consistent standard methods for managing resource lifecycle, which allows tools to support these resources generically, as well as conforming to other declarative-friendly guidance (see further reading).

Declarative-friendly resources should designate that they follow the declarative-friendly style:

message Book {
  option (google.api.resource) = {
    type: ""
    pattern: "publishers/{publisher}/books/{book}"

  // Name and other fields...


If a resource takes time (more than a few seconds) for updates to be realized, the resource should include a bool reconciling field to disclose that changes are in flight. This field must be output only.

A resource must set the reconciling field to true if the current state of the resource does not match the user's intended state, and the system is working to reconcile them. This is regardless of whether the root cause of going into reconciliation was user or system action.

Note: Services responding to a GET request must return the resource's current state (not the intended state).

Further reading

A significant amount of guidance is more strict for declarative-friendly interfaces, due to the focus on automation on top of these resources. This list is a comprehensive reference to declarative-friendly guidance in other AIPs:

  • Resources should not employ custom methods: see AIP-136.
  • Resources must use the Update method for repeated fields: see AIP-144.
  • Resources must include certain standard fields: see AIP-148.
  • Resources must have an etag field: see AIP-154.
  • Resources should provide change validation: see AIP-163.
  • Resources should not implement soft-delete. If the id cannot be re-used, the resource must implement soft-delete and the undelete RPC: see AIP-164


See AIP-148 annotations.


  • 2023-07-13: Move annotations from AIP-148.
  • 2023-06-17: Definition of plane was removed and incorporated into AIP-111.
  • 2023-05-11: Removed must on resource_id, which was upstreamed to a general must.