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API Introduction

Overview

The Continuum API allows other programs or user interfaces to interact with the Continuum platform. Since the API is based on REST principles, it's very easy to write interactions with the system. You can use pretty much any HTTP client in any programming language to interact with the API.

Required Knowledge

If you plan to interact with Continuum through the API, you should be familiar with the following:

  • JSON and/or XML

  • Web services and RESTful APIs

  • HTTP requests

  • One or more programming languages, such as Python, Ruby, Javascript, PHP, Perl, C#, or C++

Validating the API

Before getting started, you should verify access to the API.

To verify the API is available (and check the version): http://hostname:8080/api/version

To see all commands supported by the API: http://hostname:8080/api

Authenticating

Each request to the API must be authenticated via an Authorization header. Token authorization is recommended, but basic authorization can be enabled by a system administrator if desired.

A request URL should be in the following format: http://localhost:8080/api/list_tasks

Using a Token

If Token authorization is used, the Authorization header should be as follows: Authorization: Token <token>

Where the Token for a user is obtained by logging in to the Contiunuum UI and selecting My Account from the upper-right menu.

Using Basic Authentication

If the Administrator has enabled Basic authorization, the standard mechanism for HTTP Basic Auth is available: Authorization: Basic <base64-encoded-creds>

Where base64-encoded-creds is the string username:password then Base64 encoded.

As an Argument

If it's not possible to set an Authorization header, an API request can be authenticated using a token query string argument: http://localhost:8080/api/list_tasks?token=12345

This capability is the least secure and is provided as a convenience. This capability may be deprecated in future releases.

Obtaining a Token Programmatically

To get a token via the API, Basic Auth must be enabled, and a Basic Auth request must be issued to: http://localhost:8080/api/get_token

The get_token function will respond with an API token, which can now be used for Token authorization.

POSTing data

When using endpoints that require POST data, the data must be a JSON string, and the Content-Type: application/json header must be set.

Common Arguments

Almost all API commands recognize several standard arguments. All of these arguments are optional:

  • output_delimiter - Delimiter for the "text" output format. (Default is TAB)

  • header - For the "text" output format, will omit the column header if 'false'.

Output Formatting

The Continuum API can respond with three different formats - JSON, XML and Text. If not specified, the default response is XML. Response format can be changed by using an Accept header as follows:

Accept Header

Accept: application/json

The valid options are application/json, application/xml and text/plain.

As an Argument

If you cannot send an Accept header, the response format can be set using the output_format querystring option.

http://localhost:8080/api/list_tasks...ut_format=text

If using the querystring option, the valid values are xml, json, and text.

Immediate vs. Eventual Results

In most cases, the results from an API call are timely and accurate. However, when automation is involved, an API client will likely need to implement a polling mechanism to check statuses, etc.

For example, the list_tasks command will immediately return a list of all Tasks. There is no delay.

However, some API commands initiate a Pipeline, Task or other sequence of automation, the final results of which are never immediately available.

For example, the initiate_pipeline command will kick off a Pipeline, which could take a while to complete. However, the initiate_pipeline command will immediately return with information about the Pipeline Run (status, identifier, etc).

In this case, a client should then use the identifier to occasionally issue another command, such as get_pipelineinstance, and check the progress of the Pipeline.

Obtaining Metrics via API

It is possible to query the API for various summary metrics for Continuum objects. Using the metric API endpoint  http://localhost:8080/api/metric 

Refer to the "Metrics" section of the Continuum REST API Reference.

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