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elAPI is a powerful, extensible API interface to eLabFTW built for the University Computing Centre (URZ, FIRE division) at Universität Heidelberg.

Project description


elAPI is a powerful, extensible API interface to eLabFTW. It supports serving almost all kinds of requests documented in eLabFTW API documentation with ease. elAPI treats eLabFTW API endpoints as its arguments.


From the documentation:

GET /users/{id}

With elAPI you can do the following:

$ elapi get users --id <id>


Support for installing packages with pip install --user has been deprecated with the adoption of PEP 688 on many systems like Debian 12. We recommend pipx for installing elAPI.

$ pipx install elapi

Of course, pip install --user elapi might continue to work on some systems.


elAPI needs to be configured first before we can do anything useful with it. elAPI supports a YAML configuration file in the following locations.

  • Current directory: ./elapi.yml
  • User directory: $HOME/.config/elapi.yml
  • Root directory: /etc/elapi.yml

elAPI supports configuration overloading. I.e., a keyword set in root configuration file /etc/elapi.yml can be overriden by setting a different value in user configuration file $HOME/.config/elapi.yml. In terms of precedence, configuration file present in the currently active directory has the highest priority, and configuration in root directory has the lowest.

The following parameters are currently configurable, with host and api_token being the required fields. For testing purposes it would be safe to store everything in the user configuration file.

# elAPI configuration
# Saved in `$HOME/.config/elapi.yml`

host: <host API url>
# Example:
# Note the host URL ends with the API endpoint
api_token: <token with at least read-access>
# You can generate an API token from eLabFTW user panel -> API keys tab.
export_dir: ~/Downloads/elAPI
unsafe_api_token_warning: yes

We can get an overview of detected configurations.

$ elapi show-config

If both host and api_token are detected, we are good to go!


elAPI can be invoked from the command-line.

$ elapi --help 

GET requests

We can request an overview of running eLabFTW server.

$ elapi get info -F yml
# Here -F (or --format) defines the output format

We can request a list o all active experiments and export it to a JSON file.

$ elapi get experiments --export ~/Downoads/experiments.json

POST requests

We can create a new user by the name 'John Doe'.

$ elapi post users --id <user id> -d '{"firstname": "John", "lastname": "Doe", "email": ""}'

PATCH requests

We can update an existing user's email address.

$ elapi patch users --id <user id> -d '{"email": ""}'

patch command allows us to make changes to eLabFTW server settings. E.g., we can update the time (in minutes) after which the authentication cookie will expire.

$ elapi patch config -d '{"cookie_validity_time": 43200}'

We can publish an announcement to all the members.

$ elapi patch config -d '{"announcement": "Notice: Server will be down tomorrow at midnight due to scheduled maintenance."}'

Bill teams

We can generate invoice for eLabFTW teams.

$ elapi bill-teams generate-invoice

We may just want to have a look at the billing information without generating invoice.

$ elapi bill-teams info -F yaml

We can also export this information as a YAML file to the export directory defined in configuration file (export_dir).

elapi bill-teams info -F yaml --export


elAPI is open-source and published under AGPLv3 license. The repository is however hosted internally within Universität Heidelberg's network. The codebase can still be accessed from PyPI. If you express interest in having the repository made completely public, or if you have any question, feel free to contact us.

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