Tornado API Client Framework

The tornado_rest_client framework provides a quick and easy way to build generic API clients for JSON REST-based APIs. The framework provides robust and reliable retry mechanisms, error handling and exception raising all within a simple to use class structure.

The basic purpose of the api package is to provide you with a few simple inheritable classes where all you need to do is fill in a few variables to get back a usable API client.

Every API client you build will be a combination of two objects – a RestClient and a RestConsumer.


A RestClient object is a very simple object that exposes one public fetch() method (that’s wrapped in the coroutine() wrapper) used to fire off HTTP calls through a tornado.httpclient.AsyncHTTPClient object.


The RestConsumer class does the real leg work. At the root of it, the object self-configures itself with a supplied CONFIG dictionary that defines http_methods, path and possible attrs. The http_methods and path work together to tell the object exactly what path it will call out to, and what methods it supports. The attrs provide links to nested methods that return other RestConsumer objects.

If you consider an API that may have the following endpoints:

  • GET /: Returns 200 if API is up
  • GET /cats: Returns a array of cat names
  • POST /cats: Push a new name to the array of cat names
  • GET /cats/random: Returns a single random cat name

You can define your CONFIG dict like this:

class CatAPI(api.RestConsumer):
    ENDPOINT = 'http://my_cat_service'
    CONFIG = {
        # Handles GET /
        'path': '/',
        'http_methods': {'get': {}},
        # Creates a series of methods that return other RestConsumers
        'attrs': {
            # Handles GET /cats, POST /cats
            'cat_api': {
                'path': '/cats',
                'new': True,
                'http_methods': {
                    'get': {},
                    'post': {},
                # Now, handles the random cat endpoint
                'attrs': {
                    'random': {
                        'path': '/cats/random',
                        'new': True,
                        'http_methods': {
                            'get': {}
                    'get': {
                        'path': '/cats/%id%',
                        'http_methods': {
                            'get': {}

Now, instantiating this object would provide methods that look like this:

>>> cats = CatAPI()
>>> cats
>>> cats.cat_api
>>> cats.cat_api.random
>>> cats.cat_api.random.http_get()
<tornado.concurrent.Future object at 0x101f9e390>
>>> yield cats.cat_api.random().http_get()
'Bob Marley!'
>>> yield cats.cat_api.http_post(cat_name='Skippy')
{ "status": "ok" }
>>> yield cats.cat_api.get(id='Bobby').http_get()
{ "cat": "Bobby" }

There are more details available inside the various doc modules below...