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A basic spreadsheet to api engine
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AutoAPI is a very simple, very scalable API engine that converts flat data files into a web service. To add, edit, and remove data from the API, you just add, overwrite, or delete flat CSV files from either an s3 bucket or your local filesystem.

Currently, AutoAPI is the core offering of the 18F API Program, a comprehensive solution for government agencies to get up-and-running with production APIs quickly.


Example Instance

How to use:

Query Parameters:

  • ?page=2
  • ?[columnheader]=[value]
  • ?[columnheader1]=[value1]&[columnheader1]=[value2] (returns results that have value1 OR value2)
  • ?[columnheader1]=[value1]&[columnheader3]=[value4] (returns results that have both value1 and value2)


In order to use autoapi, you'll need:

  • Python 3.5
  • npm

Alternatively, if you use Docker for development and/or deployment, you don't need anything (except Docker, of course).


First, let's get dependencies sorted out:

pip3 install -r requirements.txt
npm install

To run tests:

py.test test*.py

The easiest way to get started with autoapi is by serving CSV files from your local filesystem.

Here's a quick way to generate some sample data:

mkdir data_sources
cat << EOF > data_sources/my_sample_data.csv

Now you can add your sample data to a local SQLite database:

invoke apify "/data_sources/**.*"

Finally, you can start the server with:

invoke serve

Now try visiting http://localhost:5000 in your browser, or poke at the following URLs from the command-line:

curl http://localhost:5000/my_sample_data
curl http://localhost:5000/my_sample_data/1
curl http://localhost:5000/my_sample_data?color=pink

More details can be found in

Deployment via docker

If you have Docker installed, you can run from a Docker container with no further setup:

docker run \
  -p 5000:5000 \
  -v `pwd`/data_sources:/data_sources \
  --rm -it 18fgsa/autoapi

Any environment variables can be set via the -e NAME=VALUE option.

Note that this sets up your autoapi instance by directly pulling autoapi from its Docker Hub image; it doesn't even require you to clone autoapi's git repository. However, as a result you won't be able to develop autoapi itself.

Development via docker

If you'd like to use Docker for developing autoapi, just clone its repository, build the docker image and start the server:

docker-compose build
docker-compose up

Now you can visit your server at http://localhost:5000.

If you want to set any environment variables, you can do so by creating a .env file in the root directory of the repository, where each line consists of a NAME=VALUE pair.

If any dependencies change, such as those listed in requirements.txt or package.json, just re-run docker-compose build.

For more information on using Docker for development, see the 18F Docker Guide.

Database Configuration

By default, autoapi uses a local SQLite database. To specify a different database URI, set the DATABASE_URL environment variable. For use with Cloud Foundry, simply create and bind an RDS service; this will automatically configure the environment.

cf create-service rds shared-psql autoapi-rds
cf bind-service autoapi autoapi-rds

For details on RDS services available through 18F Cloud Foundry, see

AWS Integration

To use AWS instead of local CSV files, you'll want to define the following environment variables:

  • AUTOAPI_BUCKET - The bucket containing your CSV files.
  • AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID - Your AWS access key.
  • AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY - Your AWS secret access key.

autoapi synchronizes with the S3 bucket specified in the AUTOAPI_BUCKET environment variable. On starting the API server, autoapi creates a subscription to the target bucket using Amazon SNS. When files are added to or deleted from the bucket, the corresponding endpoints will automatically be updated on the API.

Public domain

This project is in the worldwide public domain. As stated in CONTRIBUTING:

This project is in the public domain within the United States, and copyright and related rights in the work worldwide are waived through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

All contributions to this project will be released under the CC0 dedication. By submitting a pull request, you are agreeing to comply with this waiver of copyright interest.

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