Guide to REST API data sources

In Klipfolio, data from web services is accessed either by a dedicated service connector in Klipfolio or by using the REST/URL connector which can connect to most APIs that use the REST (REpresentational State Transfer) protocol and one of the following authentication methods (if authentication is required):

Note: REST APIs with additional authentication requirements, such as an initial login request, may not be accessible using Klipfolio's REST/URL connector.

This article includes:

How to read an API query

Each web service API has its own unique definition and requirements. We recommend you refer to the web service API documentation for specific details about:

  • user credentials (for example, username and password)
  • authentication method (OAuth, basic HTTP, 2-step Auth or API Key)
  • web service URL (address of the web service being queried, for example, http://api.linkedin.com)
  • endpoint names (the resources available to be queried, for example, in http://api.linkedin.com/v1/people, people is the endpoint)
  • parameters
    • dimensions, such as time or geographic location
    • metrics, the data being requested
    • time span, usually specified by start and end dates
  • parameter formats, in particular date formats (for example, yyyy-MM-dd, Unix time)
  • parameter combinations (which metrics can be used with which dimensions)
  • access method (GET, POST)
  • output format (CSV, JSON, XML)

API query syntax

Although there is no defined REST standard, many REST-based API queries use a syntax similar to:

<webServiceURL>/<version>/<endpointName>.<outputFormat>?<parameter1Name>=<parameter1Value>&<parameter2Name>=<parameter2Value>&<startDate>=01-01-2015&<endDate>={date.today}

A REST-based query may not include all of the elements shown above. If the query includes parameters, the first parameter is prefixed with a question mark ? and subsequent parameters are prefixed with an ampersand &.

Signed Authentication Parameters

Some third-party APIs, such as Amazon Web Services and Moz, require a signed authentication parameter to be included in their API query to secure the identity of the user. A signed authentication parameter is comprised of one or more data elements, such as an API key or a user ID, that have been encrypted to produce a unique key.

The data elements required to build the signed authentication parameter are typically specified by the third-party API. This signed authentication parameter is included in the API query following the same syntax as a regular parameter. Klipfolio's Signed Authentication Builder (Hash Helper) provides a set of methods to create this signed authentication parameter.

Example API queries

Below are some examples of what API queries may look like:

Twitter API query

https://api.twitter.com/1.1/followers/list.json

where

<webserviceURL> = https://api.twitter.com
<version> = 1.1
<endpoint> = followers/list
<outputFormat> = json

and Authentication is type OAuth.

Klipfolio API query

https://app.klipfolio.com/api/1.0/datasources

where

<webserviceURL> = https://app.klipfolio.com/api
<version> = 1.0
<endpoint> = datasources

and Query Parameters

<ParameterName> = kf-api-key
<ParameterValue> = <your api key>
<ParameterType> = header

Supported query methods

Klipfolio supports the GET and POST methods for requesting data from an API. The API will specify which method to use. Most APIs use GET, however some APIs use POST for certain queries. Refer to the API documentation of the service you are connecting to for more information.

Creating a REST/URL data source

If you’re creating a REST/URL data source using the POST method, see this section: Tips for creating a REST/URL data source using POST.

To create a REST/URL data source:

  1. Click Data Sources in the left navigation bar.

If you don’t see the above option, go to the bottom of the left navigation sidebar and click your Account Name > Data Sources instead.

  1. Click Create a New Data Source and select REST/URL.
  2. On the Configure your data source page, fill in the required information:
  • Query URL: enter the API query according to the web service's API specification
  • Data Format: select the output format returned by the API (Excel, CSV, JSON or XML)

Note: This field specifies how the response from the API is parsed and is not necessarily related to the POST request body type. The POST request body type is usually specified as the request header in the Query Parameters section. For more information, see Tips for creating a REST/URL data source using POST below.

  • Method: select the method required by the API (GET or POST).
  1. Set Query Parameters as required by the API (many APIs do not require any). Type a Name and Value for each parameter required and set one of the following Types:
  • Query - This is equivalent to the parameters in an API query. You can either include them in the URL or in this section.
  • Header - If required by the API (for example, Smartsheets), add parameters to the query Header.
  • Cookie - If required by the API, Cookie parameters are used for session-related data.
  1. Configure the Authentication (if applicable):
  • If the API uses API Key authentication, set Query Parameters according to the API's specification for the API Key parameter and leave Authentication Type set to None.
  • Otherwise, select the Authentication Type and fill in the required fields.
  1. Click Get data, then Continue once the data is verified.
  2. Save and name the data source.

The data source is added to your account and is ready to use for custom metrics or custom Klips. You can see all your data sources in your Data Source Library, accessed by clicking Data Sources in the left navigation sidebar.

Tips for creating a REST/URL data source using POST

Service APIs that require a POST request also require you to specify headers.

The most common set of parameters for REST APIs and most GraphQL APIs is as follows:

  • Using POST as the Method where the Body contains JSON data, expand Query Parameters and enter Content-Type as the Name and application/json as the Value. Select Header as the Type.

The most common set of parameters for SOAP APIs is as follows:

  • Using POST as the Method where the Body contains XML data, expand Query Parameters and enter Content-Type as the Name and application/xml as the Value. Select Header as the Type.

See below for an example that uses POST with JSON data:

Creating a GraphQL data source using REST

If you are connecting to GraphQL using REST, follow the REST API connection instructions and enter the following information:

  • At Query URL, ensure your query ends with a GraphQL endpoint. (these usually end in /graphql).
  • At Method, select POST
  • At Body, enter {"query": "<yourStringEscapedGraphQLquery>"}as in the example below:

    Ensure that you escape any strings inside the query using backslashes. If you are having trouble converting your GraphQL query into a string escaped query, you can use an online tool to convert your query for you.
  • Expand Query Parameters and enter Content-Type as the Name and application/json as the Value. Select Header as the Type.
Have more questions? Submit a request