RESTAlchemy provides a very intuitive and simple but still very powerful REST API.

It’s designed for 95% of usages of JSON REST APIs, which is to give the user easy access to the data storage of your application from a browser or other apps.

See comparisons to see how RESTAlchemy calls look compared to other popular frameworks.

API Endpoints

RESTAlchemy uses the common REST API scheme for URLs where you can access the collection of your resource (on Python side, this would be a list of your SQLAlchemy models) under /{resource}. You can access one particular resource (in Python that would be a single instance of your model) with /{resource}/{ID} and you can access an attribute from this resource (which can again be a resource or a collection or resources) with /{resource}/{ID}/{attribute}.

It’s also convention to include the API version in the URL, so the first path segment must always be the API version. E.g. /v1/.

Quick overview of URL endpoints (need to be prefixed with version number):

HTTP GET to query:
  • /{resource}: Return a list of resources.
  • /{resource}/{ID}: Return a resource
  • /{resource}/{ID}/{attribute}: Return attribute of a resource
HTTP POST to create:
  • /{resource}: Create a new resource
  • /{resource}/{ID}/{attribute}: Only possible if {attribute} is list of resources. Then it will append a newly created resource.
HTTP PUT to update:
  • /{resource}/{ID}: Update existing resource
  • /{resource}/{ID}/{attribute}: Update attribute of existing resource
HTTP DELETE to delete:
  • /{resource}/{ID}: Delete resource
  • /{resource}/{ID}/{attribute}: Only possible if {attribute} is a relation to another resources. Then it will delete the resource and reference to it.

Query parameters

  • limit: Limit the number of entries to return. (default: 100; default maximum limit is 1000)

  • offset: Number of entries to skip. (default: 0)

  • sort: attribute to sort by in descending order. You can optionally specify the sort order by appending .asc or .desc to the attribute (default: id.asc). You can also sort by sub-attributes, e.g. GET /v3/creatives? or by quickstats, e.g. GET /v3/campaigns?quickstats&sort=quickstats.lifetime.clicks.asc. If you specify a relationship model without specifying an attribute of it you sort by count. E.g. GET /v3/publishers?sort=sites.desc&limit=5 returns the 5 publishers that have the most sites.

  • depth: Specifies how attributes that are relationships to another model or a list of other models is returned. There are 3 options:

    • depth=0: don’t return any relationship attributes at all
    • depth=1: return a list of attribute IDs (default)
    • depth=2: return the expanded attribute objects
  • attributes: comma separated list of attributes you want to have included in your result. You can also exclude certain attributes bei prepending ‘!’ to the attribute name. (not set as defaults and all attributes are returned) e.g. get sites but only return id and names without anything else: HTTP GET to /v3/sites?attributes=id,name or get advertiser with id 3 but without campaigns and creatives attribute: /v3/advertiser/3?attributes=!creatives,!campaigns

  • expand: comma separated list of attributes to expand (instead of only showing the ID(s)). Useful if you don’t want to set depth to a higher value because you only want one or a few attributes expanded or you set depth to 2 already and want to expand one attribute a level deeper. (not set as default) E.g. get all sites and also expand the domains /v3/sites?expand=domain

  • attribute filter: every attribute other then the above (limit, offset, sort, depth, attributes, expand) is used as a filter for the result set. The URL parameter in general looks like attribute_to_filter=filter_string If attribute_to_filter is starting with ! the filter is negated. filter_string can be a comma separated list of multiple values or contain * as wildcard for matches in strings. (no filter set as default) E.g. find all .mx TLDs /v3/domains?hostname=*.mx

Special Endpoints

If you use the authentication module from RESTAlchemy, you get a special /login endpoint to receive an auth token. What JSON you exactly have to post to this API is depending on the implementer. See authentiaction for more details.

Custom endpoints or query parameters

RESTAlchemy gives you the full power of Pyramid, so it’s easy to overwrite the default URL routes or query parameters or add your own.

See Configuration for a way to change routes/query parameters or create new ones.


Usage with curl

To login and receive the authentication token:

$ curl -X POST -d '{"email": "", "password": "test"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" localhost:6543/v1/login

A sample response would be:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json; charset=UTF-8
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:37:25 GMT

    "auth_token": "your-long-token-here",
    "message": "test (user id 1) logged in",
    "success": true,
    "user": {
        "created_at": "2014-09-09T15:34:56",
        "email": "",
        "id": 1,
        "name": "test",
        "updated_at": "2014-10-14T19:01:11"

Now you can pass the auth token in the header of your next request(s) to access more resources. To do so add an ‘Authorization’ Header with ‘Bearer ‘ + auth_token as value.

E.g. get all sites:

$ curl -H 'Authorization: Bearer your-long-token-here' localhost:6543/v1/todos

Would result in a json response that lists all TODOs available for the user:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json; charset=UTF-8

    "filter": [],
    "limit": null,
    "offset": null,
    "todos": [
            "id": 5,
            "todo": 'todo five',
            "description": "todo description",
            "created_at": "2014-10-29T17:36:42",
            "updated_at": "2014-10-29T17:38:25"
            "id": 9,
            "todo": 'todo nine',
            "description": "todo description",
            "created_at": "2014-10-29T18:36:42",
            "updated_at": "2014-10-29T18:38:25"
        /* {... more todos */ ...}
    "sort": "id.asc",
    "success": true,
    "timestamp": "2015-04-03T00:14:35.072516"

To create a new entry you have to POST with the necessary data you want to set. E.g. creating a new todo:

$ curl -H 'Authorization: Bearer your-long-token-here' -X POST -d '{"todo": "test todo", "description": "test description"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" localhost:6543/v1/todo

Would create a new todo and the response would look like:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json; charset=UTF-8

    "todo": {
        "id": 23,
        "todo": "test todo",
        "description": "test description"
        "created_at": "2014-10-28T21:56:44",
    "status": "OK"


Let’s look at some common queries and there outputs with RESTAlchemy, Eve, JSON API and Django Rest Framework