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API Explorer engine for Rails projects. It allows debugging/documenting webservices by reading the specification from a file. It supports the most used HTTP verbs (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE), headers and parameters.
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API Explorer

API Explorer is a tool that reads a specification and creates a console where developers can test their own web services.


  • Loads API specification from a file or a string
  • Multiple HTTP methods supported: GET, POST, PUT, DELETE
  • Syntax highlighting for Json, XML and HTTP responses.
  • History of requests/responses
  • Specify HTTP headers
  • Specify Request parameters
  • Show description of the web service, which can be used as a documentation of the web services.
  • Supports HTTP basic authentication and HMAC-SHA1 hash authentication.
  • Parameters in the form of: user[name] or company[owner][name] are automatically converted into hash parameters.


Given that it makes a request to the same server, it requires a multi-threaded server. On this example we will use 'thin' and 'unicorn'.

Configure thin server on threaded mode

Add thin to the Gemfile.

gem 'thin', '~> 1.6.1'

Set thread safe mode in development.rb (or the right environment)


Bundle install

bundle install

Test the server by running it with:

thin start --threaded

Alternative - Configure unicorn server

Add unicorn to the Gemfile.

gem "unicorn", "~> 4.7.0"

Add the file 'unicorn.conf' to config/ with the following content:

worker_processes 3

Bundle install

bundle install

Test the server by running it with:

unicorn_rails -c config/unicorn.conf

Install the gem

Add the gem to the Gemfile.

gem 'api_explorer'

Create a file named ws_specification.json (or any name you desire) and place it on /lib. An example can be:

    "methods": [ 
            "name": "Users index", 
            "url": "v1/users", 
            "description": "The index of users", 
            "method": "GET", 
            "parameters": [{"name": "API_TOKEN"}] 
            "name": "User login", 
            "url": "v1/users/login", 
            "description": "Users login", 
            "method": "POST", 
            "parameters": [{"name": "API_TOKEN"}, {"name": "email"}, {"name": "password"}] 

Create an initializer in /config/initializers/api_explorer.rb with the following content:

ApiExplorer::use_file = true 
ApiExplorer::json_path = 'lib/ws_specification.json'

Another option can be:

ApiExplorer::use_file = false   
ApiExplorer::json_string = { ... - Web services specification - ....}

And install all dependencies:

bundle install

And finally mount the engine on config/routes.rb

mount ApiExplorer::Engine => '/api_explorer'

That's it. Its ready to go.


Start thin (or unicorn)

thin start --threaded


unicorn_rails -c config/unicorn.conf

And go to



  • Fork project
  • Add features
  • Send pull request

Next improvements

  • Better error handling
  • Test with Rails 4
  • More authentication methods
  • Support absolute URLs to test 3rd party APIs.


See LICENSE file for details


Developed at TopTier labs

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