API Smith makes building structured API clients even simpler.
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API Smith

API Smith makes building clients for HTTP-based APIs easy.

By building on top of HTTParty and Hashie, API Smith provides tools tailor-made for making API clients for structured data - That is, responses with a well defined design. These tools are made possible by two parts - APISmith::Smash, a smarter dash / hash-like object which lets you have simple declarative data structures and APISmith::Client, a layer on top of HTTParty that makes dealing with APIs even simpler and more consistent.

APISmith::Smash - A Smarter Hash

API Smith's Smash class is a 'smarter' (or, alternatively, structured) hash. Built on top of Hashie::Dash, APISmith::Smash adds several features that make it useful for making objects that represent an external api response. On top of the base Hashie::Dash feature set, APISmith::Smash adds:

Configuration of alternative names for fields

A feature useful for dealing with apis where they may have a fullName field in their api response but you want to use full_name. Configurable by a simple :from option on property declarations.

This importantly lets you deal with one format internally whilst automatically taking care of normalising external data sources. More importantly, it also provides simple methods you can override to handle a wide range of external schemes (e.g. always underscoring the field name).

Configurable transformers

Essentially, any object (e.g. a lambda, a class or something else) that responds to #call can be used to transform incoming data into a useable format. More importantly, your smash classes will also respond to #call meaning they can intelligently be used as transformers for other classes, making complex / nested objects simple and declarative.

On top of this, APISmith::Client also uses the same #call-able convention, making it even easier to use a consistent scheme for converting data across the application.

Using it on a property is as simple as passing a :transformer option with the #call-able object as the value.

A well defined (and documented) api

Making it possible for you to hook in at multiple stages to further specialise your Smash objects for specific API use cases.

APISmith::Client - Making API Clients Sexy

APISmith::Client is a collection of tools built on top of HTTParty that adds tools to make writing API clients simpler. Namely, it adds:

Configurable Endpoints

Put simply, even though HTTParty adds the base_uri class option, there are times where we want to be able to create a class of base logic but still vary a common part of the URI. For this, APISmith::Client supports endpoints. Essentially, a path part that is prefixed to all paths passed to get, post, put and delete.

Using this in your client is as simple as calling the endpoint class method - e.g.:

class MyAPIClient
  include APISmith::Client
  base_uri "http://example.com/"
  endpoint "api/v1"

Then, calling MyAPIClient.new.get('/blah') will hit up the url at http://example.com/api/v1/blah.

This is most importantly useful when dealing with restful - base_uri can point to the site root and then you can subclass your base client class and set the endpoint for each resource. More importantly, because you can override APISmith::Client::InstanceMethods#endpoint method, you can also make your endpoint take into account parent resource ids and the like.

Hierarchal Request, Body and Query String options

Out of the box, we give you support for configuring options on three levels:

  • The class - e.g. parameters to set the response type to JSON
  • The instance - e.g. an api key parameter that all instances require
  • The request - e.g. a parameter required for that specific API call.

Out of the box, it transparently supports using these options for both the request body, the request query string and the request options in general (for HTTParty).

For each of these types (query, body and request), it's easy to hook in to them and to set them. For class-level options, simply define a base_#{type}_options method, e.g:

def base_query_options
  {:format => 'json'}

For per-instance options, simply use the add_#{type}_options! method (which takes a hash of options). For example, see APISmith::Client::InstanceMethods#add_query_options!.

Finally, you can use the :extra_#{type} options (e.g. :extra_query), for example:

get '/', :extra_query => {:before_timestamp => 2.weeks.ago.to_s}

Response Unpacking

Via the :response_container argument to the get, post, put and delete methods, API Smith supports automatically taking the parsed responses and getting just the bit you care about.

In cases where the API consistently packages the data in a simple manner, it's also possible to override the default response container, making it somewhat simple to automate the whole unpacking process. As an example, say your api returns:

  "data": {
    "values": "some-other-data-here"

Via the :response_container option, when your transformer is called, it wont have to deal with the data and values keys, You will only need to deal with the contents directly, in this case - "some-other-data-here", simply by passing:

:response_container => %w(data values)

Simple Response Transformations

The most important aspect of APISmith::Client comes down to it's support of the :transform option. Much like the :transformer option on Smash properties, Adding :transform with a #call-able object to your call to get, post, put or delete will automatically invoke your transformer with the unpacked response.

As an added bonus, because APISmith::Smash defines a call class method, you can then simply pass one of your Smash subclasses to the transform option and API Smith will intelligently unpack your data into the objects you care about.


API Smith was written by Darcy Laycock, and Steve Webb from The Frontier Group, as part of a bigger project with Filter Squad.


We encourage all community contributions. Keeping this in mind, please follow these general guidelines when contributing:

  • Fork the project
  • Create a topic branch for what you’re working on (git checkout -b awesome_feature)
  • Commit away, push that up (git push your_remote awesome_feature)
  • Create a new GitHub Issue with the commit, asking for review. Alternatively, send a pull request with details of what you added.
  • Once it’s accepted, if you want access to the core repository feel free to ask! Otherwise, you can continue to hack away in your own fork.

Other than that, our guidelines very closely match the GemCutter guidelines here.

(Thanks to GemCutter for the contribution guide)


API Smith is released under the MIT License (see the license file) and is copyright Filter Squad, 2011.