This article offers a high-level overview of the public services that Zato offers to users wishing to manage their environments in an API-driven manner in addition to web-admin and enmasse tools.

Overview

Most users start to interact with Zato via its web-based admin console. This works very well and is a great way to get started with the platform.

In terms of automation, the next natural step is to employ enmasse which lets one move data across environments using YAML import/export files.

The third way is to use the API services - anything that can be done in web-admin or enmasse is also available via dedicated API services. Indeed, both web-admin and enmasse are clients of the same services that users can put to work in their own integration needs.

The public API is built around a REST endpoint that accepts and produces JSON. Moreover, a purpose-built Python client can access all the services whereas an OpenAPI-based specification lets one generate clients in any language or framework that supports this popular format.

Python usage examples follow in the blog post but the full documentation has more information about REST and OpenAPI too.

Prerequisites

First thing needed is to set a password for the API client that will be used, it is an HTTP Basic Auth definition whose username is pubapi. Remember, however, that there are no default secrets in Zato ever so the automatically generated password cannot be used. To change the password, navigate in web-admin to Security -> HTTP Basic Auth and click Change password for the pubapi user.

Now, we can install the Python client package from PyPI. It does not matter how it is installed, it can be done under a virtual environment or not, but for simplicity, let's install it system-wide:

$ sudo pip install zato-client

This is it as far as prerequisites go, everything is ready to invoke the public services now.

Invoking API services

For illustration purposes, let's say we would like to be able to list and create ElasticSearch connections.

The easiest way to learn how to achieve it is to let web-admin do it first - each time a page in web-admin is accessed or an action like creating a new connection is performed, one or more entries are stored in admin.log files on the server that handles the call. That is, admin.log is the file that lists all the public API services invoked along with their input/output.

For instance, when you list ElasticSearch connections, here is what is saved in admin.log:

INFO - name:`zato.search.es.get-list`, request:`{'cluster_id': 1}`
INFO - name:`zato.search.es.get-list`, response:`'
   {"zato_search_es_get_list_response": [],
   "_meta": {"next_page": null, "num_pages": 0, "prev_page": null,
   "has_prev_page": false,
   "cur_page": 1, "page_size": 50, "has_next_page": false, "total": 0}}'

It is easy to discern that:

  • The service invoked was zato.search.es.get-list
  • Its sole input was the cluster ID to return connections for
  • There were no connections returned on output which makes sense because we have not created any yet

Let's do the same in Python now:

# Where to find the client
from zato.client import APIClient

# Credentials
username = 'pubapi'
password = '<secret>'

# Address to invoke
address = 'http://localhost:11223'

# Build the client
client = APIClient(address, username, password)

# Choose the service to invoke and its request
service_name = 'zato.search.es.get-list'
request = {'cluster_id':1}

# Invoke the API service
response = client.invoke(service_name, request)

# And display the response
print(response.data)

Just like expected, the list of connections is empty:

$ python pubapi.py 
[]
$ 

Navigate to web-admin and create a new connection via Connections -> Search -> ElasticSearch, as below:

Let's re-run the Python example now to witness that the newly created connection can in fact be obtained from the service:

$ python pubapi.py 
[{
  u'name': u'My Connection',
  u'is_active': True,
  u'hosts': u'127.0.0.1:9200\r\n',
  u'opaque1': u'{}',
  u'timeout': 5,
  u'body_as': u'POST',
  u'id': 1
}]
$ 

But this is not over yet - we still need to create a new connection ourselves through an API service. If you kept admin.log opened while the connection was being created in web-admin, you noticed that the service to do it was called zato.search.es.create and that its input was saved to admin.log too so we can just modify our Python code already:

# Where to find the client
from zato.client import APIClient

# Credentials
username = 'pubapi'
password = '<secret>'

# Address to invoke
address = 'http://localhost:11223'

# Build the client
client = APIClient(address, username, password)

# First, create a new connection
service_name = 'zato.search.es.create'
request = {
    'cluster_id':1,
    'name':'API-created connection',
    'hosts': '127.0.0.1:9201',
    'timeout': 10,
    'body_as': 'POST'
}
client.invoke(service_name, request)

# Now, get the list of connections, it should include the newly created one
service_name = 'zato.search.es.get-list'
request = {'cluster_id':1}
response = client.invoke(service_name, request)

# And display the response
print(response.data)

This is a success again because on output we now have both the connection created in web-admin as well as the one created from the API client:

$ python pubapi.py 
[{
 u'name': u'API-created connection',
 u'is_active': True,
 u'hosts': u'127.0.0.1:9201',
 u'opaque1': u'{}',
 u'timeout': 10,
 u'body_as': u'POST',
 u'id': 2
},
{
 u'name': u'My Connection',
 u'is_active': True,
 u'hosts': u'127.0.0.1:9200\r\n',
 u'opaque1': u'{}',
 u'timeout': 5,
 u'body_as': u'POST',
 u'id': 1
}]
$ 

Just to double-check it, we can also list the connections in web-admin and confirm that both are returned:

Summary

That is really it. The process is as straightforward as it can get - create a client object, choose a service to invoke, give it a dict request and a Python object is returned on output.

Note that this post covered Python only but everything applies to REST and OpenAPI-based clients too - the possibilities to interact with the public API are virtually limitless and may include deployment automation, tools to test installation procedures or custom command and control centers and administration dashboards.