items contains only URL and title of subresources contained with a Folder. This usually not enough for generating even minimal listings . For fetching additional metadata on a resource you need to perform individual requests for each item of items. This is inefficient.
The @search endpoint supports the metadara_field query parameter for receiving additional metadata for all found items.
We need something similar for GET on a folderish resource in order to build efficient frontends. An application must be able to fetch all related items with all requested metadata in one API call instead using #(len(items)) additional API calls.
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You want to support both fullobjects and metadata_fields for the sake of API consistency. But fullobjects is not a replacement for metadata_fields because fullobjects wakes up all objects while the metadata_fields information could be determined more efficiently from the brains.