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Automated REST APIs for existing database-driven systems

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sandman

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Visit the home of sandman on the web: sandman.io

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Looking for a place to ask questions about sandman? Check out the sandman-discuss and sandman-users forums!

Documentation

Sandman documentation

sandman “makes things REST”. Have an existing database you’d like to expose via a REST API? Normally, you’d have to write a ton of boilerplate code for the ORM you’re using, then integrate that into some web framework.

I don’t want to write boilerplate.

Here’s what’s required to create a RESTful API service from an existing database using sandman:

$ sandmanctl sqlite:////tmp/my_database.db

That’s it. sandman will then do the following:

  • connect to your database and introspect its contents
  • create and launch a REST API service
  • create an HTML admin interface
  • open your browser to the admin interface

That’s right. Given a legacy database, sandman not only gives you a REST API, it gives you a beautiful admin page and opens your browser to the admin page. It truly does everything for you.

Supported Databases

sandman, by default, supports connections to the same set of databases as SQLAlchemy. As of this writing, that includes:

  • MySQL (MariaDB)
  • PostgreSQL
  • SQLite
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Firebird
  • Drizzle
  • Sybase
  • IBM DB2
  • SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere
  • MonetDB

Behind the Scenes

sandmanctl is really just a simple wrapper around the following:

from sandman import app

app.config['SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI'] = 'sqlite:///chinook'

from sandman.model import activate

activate()

app.run()

You don’t even need to tell ``sandman`` what tables your database contains. Just point sandman at your database and let it do all the heavy lifting

Let’s start our new service and make a request. While we’re at it, lets make use of sandman’s awesome filtering capability by specifying a filter term:

> python runserver.py &
* Running on http://127.0.0.1:5000/

> curl GET "http://localhost:5000/artists?Name=AC/DC"
...
{
    "resources": [
        {
            "ArtistId": 1,
            "Name": "AC/DC",
            "links": [
                {
                    "rel": "self",
                    "uri": "/artists/1"
                }
            ]
        }
    ]
}

All of that, including filtering/searching, is automagically available from those five measly lines of code.

Oh, that’s not enough? You also want a Django-style admin interface built automatically? Fine. You may have noticed that when you ran runserver.py that a browser window popped up. Now’s the time to go check that out. You’ll find it’s that Django-style admin interface you’ve been bugging me about, looking something like this:

admin interface awesomesauce screenshot

admin interface awesomesauce screenshot

(If you want to disable the browser from opening automatically each time sandman starts, call activate with browser=False)

If you wanted to specify specific tables that sandman should make available, how do you do that? With this little ditty:

from sandman.model import register, Model

class Artist(Model):
    __tablename__ = 'Artist'

class Album(Model):
    __tablename__ = 'Album'

class Playlist(Model):
    __tablename__ = 'Playlist'

register((Artist, Album, Playlist))

And if you wanted to add custom logic for an endpoint? Or change the endpoint name? Or add validation? All supported. Here’s a “fancy” class definition:

class Style(Model):
    """Model mapped to the "Genre" table

    Has a custom endpoint ("styles" rather than the default, "genres").
    Only supports HTTP methods specified.
    Has a custom validator for the GET method.

    """

    __tablename__ = 'Genre'
    __endpoint__ = 'styles'
    __methods__ = ('GET', 'DELETE')

    @staticmethod
    def validate_GET(resource=None):
        """Return False if the request should not be processed.

        :param resource: resource related to current request
        :type resource: :class:`sandman.model.Model` or None

        """

        if isinstance(resource, list):
            return True
        elif resource and resource.GenreId == 1:
            return False
        return True

With sandman, zero boilerplate code is required. In fact, using sandmanctl, no code is required at all. Your existing database structure and schema is introspected and your database tables magically get a RESTful API and admin interface. For each table, sandman creates:

  • proper endpoints
  • support for a configurable set of HTTP verbs
    • GET
    • POST
    • PATCH
    • PUT
    • DELETE
  • responses with appropriate rel links automatically
  • foreign keys in your tables are represented by link
  • custom validation by simply defining validate_<METHOD> methods on your Model
  • explicitly list supported methods for a Model by setting the __methods__ attribute
  • customize a Models endpoint by setting the __endpoint__ method
  • essentially a HATEOAS-based service sitting in front of your database

sandman is under active development but should be usable in any environment due to one simple fact:

``sandman`` never alters your database unless you add or change a record yourself. It adds no extra tables to your existing database and requires no changes to any of your existing tables. If you start ``sandman``, use it to browse your database via cURL, then stop ``sandman``, your database will be in exactly the same state as it was before you began.

Installation

pip install sandman

Example Application

Take a look in the sandman/test directory. The application found there makes use of the Chinook sample SQL database.

Contact Me

Questions or comments about sandman? Hit me up at jeff@jeffknupp.com.

Coming Soon

  • Authentication

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Changelog

Version 0.9.1

  • Python 3 support!
    • sandman tests now pass for both 2.7 and 3.4! Python 3.4 is officially supported.

Version 0.8.1

New Feature

  • Link header now set to a resource’s links
    • Links to related objects now user a proper rel value: related
    • The link to the current resource still uses the self rel value
    • Links are specified both in the header (as per RFC5988) and in the resource itself
  • Pagination added for JSON (and number of results per page being returned is fixed)
  • Nested JSON models no longer the default; hitting a URL with the argument “expand” will show one level of nested resources
    • This conforms more closely to REST principles while not sacrificing the functionality.

Version 0.7.8

Bug Fixes

  • Fix multiple references to same table error (fixes #59)

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