ForgeRock Common REST

ForgeRock® Common REST is a common REST API framework. It works across the ForgeRock platform to provide common ways to access web resources and collections of resources. Adapt the examples in this section to your resources and deployment.

This section describes the full Common REST framework. Some platform component products do not implement all Common REST behaviors exactly as described in this section. For details, refer to the product-specific examples and reference information in other sections of this documentation set.

Common REST Resources

Servers generally return JSON-format resources, though resource formats can depend on the implementation.

Resources in collections can be found by their unique identifiers (IDs). IDs are exposed in the resource URIs. For example, if a server has a user collection under /users, then you can access a user at /users/user-id. The ID is also the value of the _id field of the resource.

Resources are versioned using revision numbers. A revision is specified in the resource’s _rev field. Revisions make it possible to figure out whether to apply changes without resource locking and without distributed transactions.

Common REST Verbs

The Common REST APIs use the following verbs, sometimes referred to collectively as CRUDPAQ. For details and HTTP-based examples of each, follow the links to the sections for each verb.

Create

Add a new resource.

This verb maps to HTTP PUT or HTTP POST.

For details, see Create.

Read

Retrieve a single resource.

This verb maps to HTTP GET.

For details, see Read.

Update

Replace an existing resource.

This verb maps to HTTP PUT.

For details, see Update.

Delete

Remove an existing resource.

This verb maps to HTTP DELETE.

For details, see Delete.

Patch

Modify part of an existing resource.

This verb maps to HTTP PATCH.

For details, see Patch.

Action

Perform a predefined action.

This verb maps to HTTP POST.

For details, see Action.

Query

Search a collection of resources.

This verb maps to HTTP GET.

For details, see Query.

Common REST Parameters

Common REST reserved query string parameter names start with an underscore, _.

Reserved query string parameters include, but are not limited to, the following names:

_action
_api
_crestapi
_fields
_mimeType
_pageSize
_pagedResultsCookie
_pagedResultsOffset
_prettyPrint
_queryExpression
_queryFilter
_queryId
_sortKeys
_totalPagedResultsPolicy

Some parameter values are not safe for URLs, so URL-encode parameter values as necessary.

Continue reading for details about how to use each parameter.

Common REST Extension Points

The action verb is the main vehicle for extensions. For example, to create a new user with HTTP POST rather than HTTP PUT, you might use /users?_action=create. A server can define additional actions. For example, /tasks/1?_action=cancel.

A server can define stored queries to call by ID. For example, /groups?_queryId=hasDeletedMembers. Stored queries can call for additional parameters. The parameters are also passed in the query string. Which parameters are valid depends on the stored query.

Common REST API Documentation

Common REST APIs often depend at least in part on runtime configuration. Many Common REST endpoints therefore serve API descriptors at runtime. An API descriptor documents the actual API as it is configured.

Use the following query string parameters to retrieve API descriptors:

_api

Serves an API descriptor that complies with the OpenAPI specification.

This API descriptor represents the API accessible over HTTP. It is suitable for use with popular tools, such as Swagger UI.

_crestapi

Serves a native Common REST API descriptor.

This API descriptor provides a compact representation that is not dependent on the transport protocol. It requires a client that understands Common REST, as it omits many Common REST defaults.

Consider limiting access to API descriptors in production environments in order to avoid unnecessary traffic.

To provide documentation in production environments, see Publish OpenAPI Documentation instead.

Publish OpenAPI Documentation

In production systems, developers expect stable, well-documented APIs. Rather than retrieving API descriptors at runtime through Common REST, prepare final versions, and publish them alongside the software in production.

Use the OpenAPI-compliant descriptors to provide API reference documentation for your developers as described in the following steps:

  1. Configure the software to produce production-ready APIs.

    In other words, the software should be configured as in production so that the APIs are identical to what developers see in production.

  2. Retrieve the OpenAPI-compliant descriptor.

    The following command saves the descriptor to a file, myapi.json:

    $ curl -o myapi.json endpoint?_api
  3. If necessary, edit the descriptor.

    For example, you might want to add security definitions to describe how the API is protected.

    If you make any changes, then also consider using a source control system to manage your versions of the API descriptor.

  4. Publish the descriptor using a tool, such as Swagger UI.

    You can customize Swagger UI for your organization as described in the documentation for the tool.