Using the ForgeRock IDM API Explorer

ForgeRock Logo This post is part of a series about how to get live reference documentation for ForgeRock REST APIs.

The ForgeRock IDM web-based console includes an API explorer.

The API explorer lets you try out the CREST HTTP APIs as you are building your service. You access the IDM API explorer from the question mark menu in the console. IDM makes many categories of endpoints available. The following example shows the Health category expanded:

IDM browse explorer.png

You can quickly try out one of the API calls. For example, expand /health/memory, and then click the Try it out and Execute buttons:

IDM try health memory endpoint.png

Notice that the API explorer displays everything but the credentials needed to access the REST API.

You can also get the OpenAPI-format API descriptor for the /health endpoint. You pass the _api query string parameter to the endpoint. The resulting OpenAPI descriptor is a JSON document:

curl -u openidm-admin:openidm-admin -o health-api.json http://localhost:8080/openidm/health?_api

To try out the result, download and install Swagger UI, then move the JSON document into the Swagger UI directory. You can then browse the Swagger UI with health-api.json as the descriptor:

IDM Swagger UI.png

The API descriptor that you load from the server no doubt does not exactly match what you need to publish in your live documentation. Use the Swagger Editor to adapt it to your needs:

IDM Swagger Editor.png

For more information, see API Explorer.

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About REST APIs and API Descriptors

ForgeRock Logo This post briefly describes the types of HTTP APIs available through the ForgeRock platform, and which ones come with live reference documentation.

The following categories of HTTP APIs are available in the ForgeRock platform:

ForgeRock Common REST (CREST) APIs

ForgeRock Common REST provides a framework for HTTP APIs. Each of the component products in the platform uses CREST to build APIs that do CRUDPAQ operations in the same ways.

ForgeRock platform component products generate live reference documentation in a standard format (Swagger, which has been standardized as OpenAPI) for CREST APIs. This is done through a mechanism referred to as API descriptors. You can use this documentation to try out the CREST APIs.

Standard HTTP APIs such as OAuth 2.0

Standard HTTP APIs are defined by organizations like the IETF for OAuth 2.0, the Kantara Initiative for UMA, and the OpenID Connect Working Group. These APIs have their own implementations and do not use CREST. They are documented where they are used in the product documentation.

The canonical documentation is the specifications for the standards. At present, the ForgeRock platform components do not generate live documentation for these standard APIs.

Non-RESTful, Challenge-Response HTTP APIs

Some APIs, such as the authentication API used in ForgeRock AM and the user self-service API used in ForgeRock IDM are not fully RESTful. Instead, they use challenge-response mechanisms that have the developer return to the same endpoint with different payloads during a session.

These APIs are documented in the product documentation.

The ForgeRock API reference documentation published with the product docs is, necessarily, abstract. It does not provide you a sandbox to try out the APIs. Unlike a SaaS, with its fixed configuration, the ForgeRock platform components are highly configurable. ForgeRock HTTP APIs depend on how you decide to configure each service.

Live Reference Documentation

It is your software deployment or SaaS, built with the ForgeRock platform, that publishes concrete APIs.

You can capture the OpenAPI-format docs, and edit them to correspond to the APIs you actually want to publish. A browser-based, third-party application, Swagger UI, makes it easy to set up a front end to a sandbox service so your developers can try out your APIs.

Note that you still need to protect the endpoints. In particular, prevent developers from using the endpoints you do not want to publish.

The following posts in this series will look at how to work with the APIs when developing your configuration, and how to get the OpenAPI-format descriptors to publish live API documentation for your developers.

ForgeRock welcomes Nabil Maynard

Late welcome to Nabil Maynard who joined the ForgeRock documentation team this past Monday.

Nabil has started working on the identity management documentation. He’s digging into his new full-time job as a writer.

Nabil brings solid technical experience and understanding of how server software works, having been a QA professional for years at places like Dropbox. So much of writing good documentation for ForgeRock software depends on throughly understanding what the software does, how it can be broken, and what you should do to make it work correctly. Nabil’s contributions will surely help you get deeper into ForgeRock’s identity management software.

ForgeRock Identity Platform 5.0 docs

ForgeRock Logo By now you have probably read the news about the ForgeRock Identity Platform 5.0 release.

This major platform update comes with many documentation changes and improvements:

Hope you have no trouble finding what you need.

We’re hiring

ForgeRock still has open positions in many locations. One of those is for a writer based in our Vancouver, WA office (across the river from Portland, OR).

Be forewarned. This is challenging, hands-on technical writing and reverse engineering work. If you are looking for a gig where you can remain in your comfort zone, skip this one.

On the other hand, if you feel that most things worth doing are tough in the beginning, take a closer look and apply for the job.

ForgeRock Common Audit

ForgeRock LogoCommon Audit is another new feature of the ForgeRock platform.

Common Audit is part of the platform-wide infrastructure: a framework to handle audit events using common audit event handlers that are plugged in to the individual products. The handlers record events, logging them for example into files, relational databases, or syslog. Because handlers are pluggable, new handlers can be added to interoperate with your systems that store and analyze audit data.

Each audit event is identified by a unique transaction ID. The IDs can be communicated across the products and recorded for each local event. The transaction ID is the means to track requests as they traverse the platform.

In the current platform, configuring handlers depends on the product. So there are several places in the docs to read about how to configure Common Audit:

In addition, if you want to get the source code for Common Audit, or are interested in trying out new handlers and developments, you can find it on the ForgeRock Stash server. Right now it is in the forgerock-audit git repository. (To access most code on the ForgeRock Stash server, sign in with your ForgeRock credentials. You can sign up if you have not done so.)

What’s new in the ForgeRock platform release

ForgeRock LogoPerhaps you have read yesterday’s news about ForgeRock launching the updated identity platform.

Those of us who spent the last year working on this update are proud of all the new capabilities, from the integration achieved with common components to the depth and breadth of new features across all the products in the platform.

Looking for detailed lists of what’s new? Here are some quick links to each of the products’ release notes:

I’ll drill down on some of those in future posts.