Extending the API

Extending the API


Nova has v2.1 API frameworks which supports microversions.

This document covers how to add API for the v2.1 API framework. A microversions specific document covers the details around what is required for the microversions part.

The v2.1 API framework is under nova/api and each API is implemented in nova/api/openstack/compute.

Note that any change to the Nova API to be merged will first require a spec be approved first. See here for the appropriate repository. For guidance on the design of the API please refer to the OpenStack API WG

Basic API Controller

API controller includes the implementation of API methods for a resource.

A very basic controller of a v2.1 API:

"""Basic Controller"""

from nova.api.openstack.compute.schemas import xyz
from nova.api.openstack import extensions
from nova.api.openstack import wsgi
from nova.api import validation

class BasicController(wsgi.Controller):

    # Define support for GET on a collection
    def index(self, req):
        data = {'param': 'val'}
        return data

    # Define support for POST on a collection
    @extensions.expected_errors((400, 409))
    def create(self, req, body):
        write_body_here = ok
        return response_body

    # Defining support for other RESTFul methods based on resouce.

See servers.py for ref.

All of the controller modules should live in the nova/api/openstack/compute directory.

URL Mapping to API

The URL mapping is based on the plain list which routes the API request to appropriate controller and method. Each API needs to add its route information in nova/api/openstack/compute/routes.py.

A basic skeleton of URL mapping in routers.py:

"""URL Mapping Router List"""

import functools

import nova.api.openstack
from nova.api.openstack.compute import basic_api

# Create a controller object
basic_controller = functools.partial(
    _create_controller, basic_api.BasicController, [], [])

# Routing list structure:
# (
#     ('Route path': {
#         'HTTP method: [
#             'Controller',
#             'The method of controller is used to handle this route'
#         ],
#         ...
#     }),
#     ...
# )
    ('/basic', {
        'GET': [basic_controller, 'index'],
        'POST': [basic_controller, 'create']

Complete routing list can be found in routes.py.


Policy (permission) is defined etc/nova/policy.json. Implementation of policy is changing a bit at the moment. Will add more to this document or reference another one in the future. Also look at the authorize call in controller currently merged.


The Nova REST API is separated into different controllers in the directory 'nova/api/openstack/compute/'

Because microversions are supported in the Nova REST API, the API can be extended without any new controller. But for code readability, the Nova REST API code still needs modularity. Here are rules for how to separate modules:

  • You are adding a new resource The new resource should be in standalone module. There isn't any reason to put different resources in a single module.
  • Add sub-resource for existing resource To prevent an existing resource module becoming over-inflated, the sub-resource should be implemented in a separate module.
  • Add extended attributes for existing resource In normally, the extended attributes is part of existing resource's data model too. So this can be added into existing resource module directly and lightly. To avoid namespace complexity, we should avoid to add extended attributes in existing extended models. New extended attributes needn't any namespace prefix anymore.


The v2.1 API validates a REST request body with JSON-Schema library. Valid body formats are defined with JSON-Schema in the directory 'nova/api/openstack/compute/schemas'. Each definition is used at the corresponding method with the validation.schema decorator like:

def update(self, req, id, body):

Similarly to controller modularity, JSON-Schema definitions can be added in same or separate JSON-Schema module.

The following are the combinations of extensible API and method name which returns additional JSON-Schema parameters:

  • Create a server API - get_server_create_schema()

For example, keypairs extension(Keypairs class) contains the method get_server_create_schema() which returns:

    'key_name': parameter_types.name,

then the parameter key_name is allowed on Create a server API.


Currently only create schema are implemented in modular way. Final goal is to merge them all and define the concluded process in this doc.

These are essentially hooks into the servers controller which allow other controller to modify behaviour without having to modify servers.py. In the past not having this capability led to very large chunks of unrelated code being added to servers.py which was difficult to maintain.

Unit Tests

Unit tests for the API can be found under path nova/tests/unit/api/openstack/compute/. Unit tests for the API are generally negative scenario tests, because the positive scenarios are tested with functional API samples tests.

Negative tests would include such things as:

  • Request schema validation failures, for both the request body and query parameters
  • HTTPNotFound or other >=400 response code failures

Functional tests and API Samples

All functional API changes, including new microversions - especially if there are new request or response parameters, should have new functional API samples tests.

The API samples tests are made of two parts:

  • The API sample for the reference docs. These are found under path doc/api_samples/. There is typically one directory per API controller with subdirectories per microversion for that API controller. The unversioned samples are used for the base v2.0 / v2.1 APIs.
  • Corresponding API sample templates found under path nova/tests/functional/api_sample_tests/api_samples. These have a similar structure to the API reference docs samples, except the format of the sample can include substitution variables filled in by the tests where necessary, for example, to substitute things that change per test run, like a server UUID.

The actual functional tests are found under path nova/tests/functional/api_sample_tests/. Most, if not all, API samples tests extend the ApiSampleTestBaseV21 class which extends ApiSampleTestBase. These base classes provide the framework for making a request using an API reference doc sample and validating the response using the corresponding template file, along with any variable substitutions that need to be made.

Note that it is possible to automatically generate the API reference doc samples using the templates by simply running the tests using tox -r -e api-samples. This relies, of course, upon the test and templates being correct for the test to pass, which may take some iteration.

In general, if you are adding a new microversion to an existing API controller, it is easiest to simply copy an existing test and modify it for the new microversion and the new samples/templates.

The functional API samples tests are not the simplest thing in the world to get used to, and can be very frustrating at times when they fail in not obvious ways. If you need help debugging a functional API sample test failure, feel free to post your work-in-progress change for review and ask for help in the openstack-nova freenode IRC channel.


All API changes must also include updates to the compute API reference, which can be found under path api-ref/source/.

Things to consider here include:

  • Adding new request and/or response parameters with a new microversion
  • Marking existing parameters as deprecated in a new microversion

More information on the compute API reference format and conventions can be found here: https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/NovaAPIRef

For more detailed documentation of certain aspects of the API, consider writing something into the compute API guide found under path api-guide/source/.

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