Tutorial: Building a RESTful API#

In this tutorial we will build a RESTful JSON API. It will automatically generate OpenAPI documentation and validate request and response data.

This tutorial is meant to serve as an introduction to building APIs in Quart. If you want to skip to the end the code is on Github.

1: Creating the project#

We need to create a project for our api server, I like to use Poetry to do this. Poetry is installed via pip (or via Brew):

pip install poetry

We can then use Poetry to create a new api project:

poetry new --src api

Our project can now be developed in the api directory, and all subsequent commands should be in run the api directory.

2: Adding the dependencies#

To start we only need Quart to build the api server, which we can install as a dependency of the project by running the following:

poetry add quart

Poetry will ensure that this dependency is present and the paths are correct by running:

poetry install

3: Creating the app#

We need a Quart app to be our web server, which is created by the following addition to src/api/__init__.py:

src/api/__init__.py#
from quart import Quart

app = Quart(__name__)

def run() -> None:
    app.run()

To make the app easy to run we can call the run method from a poetry script, by adding the following to pyproject.toml:

pyproject.toml#
[tool.poetry.scripts]
start = "api:run"

Which allows the following command to start the app:

poetry run start

4: Adding simple JSON API#

To start we can add a route that reads the JSON sent to it and echos it back in a response by adding the following to src/api/__init__.py:

src/api/__init__.py#
from quart import request

@app.post("/echo")
async def echo():
    data = await request.get_json()
    return {"input": data, "extra": True}

We can test this using curl:

curl --json '{"hello": "world"}' http://localhost:5000/echo

Which gives the following result:

{"extra":true,"input":{"hello":"world"}}

To be explicit any dictionary returned from a route handler will be returned in the response as JSON with the correct Content-Type header. If you want to return a top level array as the JSON response the jsonify function can be used as so:

from quart import jsonify

@app.get("/example")
async def example():
    return jsonify(["a", "b"])

5: Adding schemas#

Using the Quart-Schema extension we can define schemas to validate the request and response data. In addition Quart-Schema will then utilise these schemas to auto-generate OpenAPI (Swagger) documentation. To start we need to install quart-schema:

poetry add quart-schema

We can then add schemas for a Todo object by adding the following to src/api/__init__.py:

src/api/__init__.py#
from dataclasses import dataclass
from datetime import datetime

from quart_schema import QuartSchema, validate_request, validate_response

QuartSchema(app)

@dataclass
class TodoIn:
    task: str
    due: datetime | None

@dataclass
class Todo(TodoIn):
    id: int

@app.post("/todos/")
@validate_request(TodoIn)
@validate_response(Todo)
async def create_todo(data: Todo) -> Todo:
    return Todo(id=1, task=data.task, due=data.due)

The OpenAPI schema is then available at http://localhost:5000/openapi.json and the docs themselves at http://localhost:5000/docs.

6: Testing#

To test our app we need to check that the echo route returns the JSON data sent to it and the create_todo route creates a todo. This is done by adding the following to tests/test_api.py:

tests/test_api.py#
from api import app, TodoIn

async def test_echo() -> None:
    test_client = app.test_client()
    response = await test_client.post("/echo", json={"a": "b"})
    data = await response.get_json()
    assert data == {"extra":True,"input":{"a":"b"}}

async def test_create_todo() -> None:
    test_client = app.test_client()
    response = await test_client.post("/todos/", json=TodoIn(task="Abc", due=None))
    data = await response.get_json()
    assert data == {"id": 1, "task": "Abc", "due": None}

As the test is an async function we need to install pytest-asyncio by running the following:

poetry add --dev pytest-asyncio

Once installed it needs to be configured by adding the following to pyproject.toml:

[tool.pytest.ini_options]
asyncio_mode = "auto"

Finally we can run the tests via this command:

poetry run pytest tests/

If you are running this in the Quart example folder you’ll need to add a -c pyproject.toml option to prevent pytest from using the Quart pytest configuration.

7: Summary#

We’ve built a RESTful API server with autogenerated OpenAPI docs and validation. You can now take this code and build any API.