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Client library for the Draftable document comparison API

Project description

Draftable Compare API - Python Client Library

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A thin Python client for the Draftable API which wraps all available endpoints and handles authentication and signing.

See the full API documentation for an introduction to the API, usage notes, and other reference material.


  • Operating system: Any maintained Linux, macOS, or Windows release
  • Python runtime: Any maintained version (currently 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, or 3.10)

Getting started

pip install draftable-compare-api
  • Instantiate a client
import draftable
client = draftable.Client('<yourAccountId>', '<yourAuthToken>')
comparisons = client.comparisons
  • Start creating comparisons
comparison = comparisons.create(
print("Comparison created: {}".format(comparison))

# Generate a signed viewer URL to access the private comparison. The expiry
# time defaults to 30 minutes if the valid_until parameter is not provided.
viewer_url = comparisons.signed_viewer_url(comparison.identifier)
print("Viewer URL (expires in 30 mins): {}".format(viewer_url))

CLI usage

A helper utility, dr-compare, is included for interacting with the API from the command-line. After installing the library run dr-compare to view the built-in help.

The CLI tool will only be available in the environment under which the library is installed (e.g. a given virtualenv). To ensure it's accessible outside of any given environment install the library user or system-wide (e.g. sudo pip install draftable-compare-api).

API reference

  • The handling of datetime objects is as follows:
    • Any naive datetime objects provided in a method call are assumed to be in UTC time.
    • Returned datetime objects are always "aware" (include timezone information) and use UTC.

Initializing the client

The package provides a module, draftable, which exports a class to create a Client for your API account.

Client provides a comparisons property which yields a ComparisonsEndpoint to manage the comparisons for your API account.

Creating a Client differs slightly based on the API endpoint being used:

import draftable

# Draftable API (default endpoint)
account_id = '<yourAccountId>'  # Replace with your API credentials from:
auth_token = '<yourAuthToken>'  #
client = draftable.Client(account_id, auth_token)
comparisons = client.comparisons

# Draftable API regional endpoint or Self-hosted
base_url = ''  # Replace with the endpoint URL
account_id = '<yourAccountId>'  # Replace with your API credentials from the regional
auth_token = '<yourAuthToken>'  # Draftable API endpoint or your Self-hosted container
client = draftable.Client(account_id, auth_token, base_url)
comparisons = client.comparisons

For API Self-hosted you may need to suppress TLS certificate validation if the server is using a self-signed certificate (the default).

Retrieving comparisons

Instances of the ComparisonsEndpoint class provide the following methods for retrieving comparisons:

  • all()
    Returns a list of all your comparisons, ordered from newest to oldest. This is potentially an expensive operation.
  • get(identifier: str)
    Returns the specified Comparison or raises a NotFound exception if the specified comparison identifier does not exist.

Comparison objects have the following properties:

  • identifier: str
    The unique identifier of the comparison.
  • left: object / right: object
    Information about each side of the comparison.
    • file_type: str
      The file extension.
    • source_url: str (optional)
      The URL for the file if the original request was specified by URL, otherwise None.
    • display_name: str (optional)
      The display name for the file if given in the original request, otherwise None.
  • public: bool
    Indicates if the comparison is public.
  • creation_time: datetime
    Time in UTC when the comparison was created.
  • expiry_time: datetime (optional)
    The expiry time if the comparison is set to expire, otherwise None.
  • ready: bool
    Indicates if the comparison is ready to display.

If a Comparison is ready (i.e. it has been processed) it has the following additional properties:

  • ready_time: datetime
    Time in UTC the comparison became ready.
  • failed: bool
    Indicates if comparison processing failed.
  • error_message: str (only present if failed)
    Reason processing of the comparison failed.

Example usage

from draftable.endpoints import exceptions

identifier = '<identifier>'

    comparison = comparisons.get(identifier)

    print("Comparison '{identifier}' ({visibility}) is {status}.".format(
        identifier = identifier,
        visibility = 'public' if comparison.public else 'private',
        status = 'ready' if comparison.ready else 'not ready'

    if comparison.ready:
        elapsed = comparison.ready_time - comparison.creation_time
        print("The comparison took {} seconds.".format(elapsed.total_seconds()))

        if comparison.failed:
            print("The comparison failed with error: {}".format(comparison.error_message))

except exceptions.NotFound:
    print("Comparison '{}' does not exist.".format(identifier))

Deleting comparisons

Instances of the ComparisonsEndpoint class provide the following methods for deleting comparisons:

  • delete(identifier: str)
    Returns nothing on successfully deleting the specified comparison or raises a NotFound exception if no such comparison exists.

Example usage

oldest_comparisons = comparisons.all()[-10:]
print("Deleting oldest {} comparisons ...".format(len(oldest_comparisons)))

for comparison in oldest_comparisons:
    print("Comparison '{}' deleted.".format(comparison.identifier))

Creating comparisons

Instances of the ComparisonsEndpoint class provide the following methods for retrieving comparisons:

  • create(left: ComparisonSide, right: ComparisonSide, identifier: str = None, public: bool = False, expires: datetime | timedelta = None)
    Returns a Comparison representing the newly created comparison.

create accepts the following arguments:

  • left / right
    Describes the left and right files (see following section).
  • identifier (optional)
    Identifier to use for the comparison:
    • If specified, the identifier must be unique (i.e. not already be in use).
    • If unspecified or None, the API will automatically generate a unique identifier.
  • public (optional)
    Specifies the comparison visibility:
    • If False or unspecified authentication is required to view the comparison.
    • If True the comparison can be accessed by anyone with knowledge of the URL.
  • expires (optional)
    Time at which the comparison will be deleted:
    • Must be specified as a datetime or a timedelta (UTC if naive).
    • If specified, the provided expiry time must be UTC and in the future.
    • If unspecified or None, the comparison will never expire (but may be explicitly deleted).

Note: The comparision must be retrieved via the comparisons.get(<identifier>) call to check the 'ready' status for new comparisons. This is an important step before exporting or accessing consecutive comparisons in any code loops.

The following exceptions may be raised:

  • BadRequest
    The request could not be processed (e.g. identifier already in use).
  • InvalidArgument
    Failure in parameter validation (e.g. expires is in the past).

Creating comparison sides

The draftable module provides the following static methods for creating comparison sides:

  • draftable.make_side(url_or_file_path: str, file_type: str = None, display_name: str = None)
    Returns a ComparisonSide for a file or URL by attempting to guess from the url_or_file_path parameter.

Alternatively, for explicitly creating a file or URL comparison side, the following static methods can be used:

  • draftable.endpoints.comparisons.sides.side_from_file(file: object, file_type: str, display_name: str = None)
    Returns a ComparisonSide for a locally accessible file.
  • draftable.endpoints.comparisons.sides.side_from_url(url: str, file_type: str, display_name: str = None)
    Returns a ComparisonSide for a remotely accessible file referenced by URL.

These methods accept the following arguments:

  • url_or_file_path (make_side only)
    The file or URL path for a comparison side.
  • file (side_from_file only)
    A file object to be read and uploaded.
    • The file must be opened for reading in binary mode.
  • url (side_from_url only)
    The URL from which the server will download the file.
  • file_type
    The type of file being submitted:
    • PDF: pdf
    • Word: docx, docm, doc, rtf
    • PowerPoint: pptx, pptm, ppt
    • Other: txt
  • display_name (optional)
    The name of the file shown in the comparison viewer.

The following exceptions may be raised:

  • InvalidArgument
    Failure in parameter validation (e.g. file_type is invalid, url is malformed, or file is not opened in binary mode).

The make_side method may additionally raise the following exceptions:

  • InvalidPath
    The provided path uses a file URI scheme (i.e. file:) but references a remote host or the file doesn't exist.
  • ValueError
    The provided path was not a URL or the file doesn't exist.

Example usage

from datetime import timedelta

identifier = draftable.generate_identifier()

comparison = comparisons.create(
    identifier = identifier,

    left = draftable.make_side(

    right = draftable.make_side(
        display_name='Document (revised).docx'

    # Expire this comparison in 2 hours (default is no expiry)
    expires = timedelta(hours=2)
print("Created comparison: {}".format(comparison))

Displaying comparisons

Instances of the ComparisonsEndpoint class provide the following methods for displaying comparisons:

  • public_viewer_url(identifier: str, wait: bool = False)
    Generates a public viewer URL for the specified comparison.
  • signed_viewer_url(identifier: str, valid_until: datetime | timedelta = None, wait: bool = False)
    Generates a signed viewer URL for the specified comparison.

Both methods use the following common parameters:

  • identifier
    Identifier of the comparison for which to generate a viewer URL.
  • wait (optional)
    Specifies the behaviour of the viewer if the provided comparison does not exist.
    • If False or unspecified, the viewer will show an error if the identifier does not exist.
    • If True, the viewer will wait for a comparison with the provided identifier to exist.
      Note this will result in a perpetual loading animation if the identifier is never created.

The signed_viewer_url method also supports the following parameters:

  • valid_until (optional)
    Time at which the URL will expire (no longer load).
    • Must be specified as a datetime or a timedelta.
    • If specified, the provided expiry time must be UTC and in the future.
    • If unspecified or None, the URL will be generated with the default 30 minute expiry.

See the displaying comparisons section in the API documentation for additional details.

Example usage

identifier = '<identifier>'

# Retrieve a signed viewer URL which is valid for 1 hour. The viewer will wait
# for the comparison to exist in the event processing has not yet completed.
viewer_url = comparisons.signed_viewer_url(identifier, timedelta(hours=1), wait=True)
print("Viewer URL (expires in 1 hour): {}".format(viewer_url))

Exporting comparisons

To perform comparison exports retrieve an ExportsEndpoint instance via the exports property of your Client instance:

exports = client.exports

Creating comparison exports

Instances of the ExportsEndpoint class provide the following methods for exporting comparisons:

  • create(comparison: Union[Comparison, str], kind: str = 'single_page', include_cover_page: bool = False)
    Returns a Export representing the newly created export.

create accepts the following arguments:

  • comparison
    The comparison to export provided as a Comparison instance or a comparison identifier.
  • kind
    The type of export to perfom.
  • include_cover_page
    Whether a cover page should be included (combined export kind only).

The following export kinds are supported for the kind parameter:

  • single_page
    Exports only the right-side of the comparison with highlights and deletion markers.
  • combined
    Exports both the left and right sides.
  • left
    Export the left side only.
  • right
    Exports the right side only.
Example usage
exports = client.exports

export = exports.create(comparison, kind='single_page')

Retrieving comparison exports

Instances of the ExportsEndpoint class provide the following methods for retrieving exports:

  • get(identifier: str)
    Returns the specified Export or raises a NotFound exception if the specified export identifier does not exist.

Export objects have the same properties as Comparison objects.

As with comparison requests, export requests need to be processed. Typically processing only takes a few seconds, but this can vary based on numerous factors (e.g. size of the documents being exported, number of changes in the comparison, etc ...). To determine if an export has been processed the ready property of the Export instance should be inspected and polling can be utilised to wait until the export has been completed.

Example usage
import time

export = client.exports.create(comparison.identifier)

while not export.ready:
    export = client.exports.get(export.identifier)
    if export.ready:

Utility functions

The draftable module provides the following static methods for generating comparison identifiers:

  • draftable.generate_identifier()
    Generates a random unique comparison identifier.

Other information

Self-signed certificates

If connecting to an API Self-hosted endpoint which is using a self-signed certificate (the default) you will need to suppress certificate validation. This can be done by setting the CURL_CA_BUNDLE environment variable to an empty string. On Windows, this must be done from within the Python interpreter due to platform limitations.

See the below examples for different operating systems and shell environments. Note that all examples only set the variable for the running shell or Python interpreter and it will not persist. To persist the setting consult the documentation for your shell environment. This should be done with caution as this setting suppresses certificate validation for all connections made by the Python runtime!

Non-Windows environments (inc. WSL)

(ba)sh (Linux, macOS, WSL)




Windows environments

Setting an environment variable to the empty string is not valid in Windows and is treated as equivalent to removing any existing environment variable of the same name. As such, suppressing certificate validation requires an alternate approach. The most straightforward is to set the environment variable from within Python, instead of before launch.

import os

os.environ['CURL_CA_BUNDLE'] = ''

If your code spawns Python subprocesses they must separately modify their environment as the change will not be inherited as you'd normally expect.

All environments

Disabling certificate validation in production environments is strongly discouraged as it significantly lowers security. We only recommend setting this environment variable in development environments if configuring a CA signed certificate for API Self-hosted is not possible.


All content is licensed under the terms of The MIT License.

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