Send API requests to Orchestration#

This Getting Started Guide shows how to send requests by using either of the following methods:

To learn about other ways to use Rackspace Cloud API services, see the following resources:

Using the heat client#

The heat client is a command-line tool that provides access to all Cloud Orchestration API methods. Before you can send requests using the client, you must install the client and set the environment variables that enable the heat client to connect to your Rackspace Cloud account.

Before installing the heat client, make sure the following software and packages are available on your system:

  • Linux or Mac OS X

  • Python 2.7 or later

  • setuptools package, installed by default on Mac OS X

  • pip package

  • Rackspace Cloud account and access to Rackspace Cloud Orchestration

To install the python-client, perform the following steps:

  1. Install the python-heatclient using pip.

    $ sudo pip install python-heatclient


    If you previously installed the python-heatclient package, run the following command to upgrade it:

    $ sudo pip install --upgrade python-heatclient
  2. Export the following environment variables manually, or update your .bash_profile or .bashrc files with these variables:

    export OS_AUTH_URL=
    export OS_USERNAME=yourUserName
    export OS_TENANT_ID=yourTenantId
    export OS_REGION_NAME=yourRegionName
    export OS_PASSWORD=yourPassword

The following table describes the environment variables:

Environment variable



The endpoint for the Identity service, which the heat client uses for authentication.


Your Rackspace Cloud user name.


Your Rackspace Cloud tenant ID (account number)


The regional endpoint (for example, DFW) where you want to deploy the Cloud Orchestration resources. For details, see Service access endpoints.


Your Rackspace Cloud password.

After you update the bash_profile or bash.rc file, make sure to source the file so that the new settings take effect immediately, for example source .bash_profile.

Run the help command to ensure that the client has installed correctly and to review information about using the client.

$ heat help

For a complete list of heat commands, see the OpenStack heat client command-line reference.

Using cURL#

cURL is a command-line tool that you can use to interact with REST interfaces. cURL lets you transmit and receive HTTP requests and responses from the command line or a shell script, which enables you to work with the API directly. cURL is available for Linux distributions, Mac OS® X, and Microsoft Windows®. For information about cURL, see

To run the cURL request examples shown in this guide on Mac OS® X or another Linux-based operating system, copy each example directly to the command line or a script.


If you are using Microsoft Windows, you need to adjust the cURL examples to run them. See Convert cURL examples to run on Windows .


The cURL examples in this guide are provided for reference only. Because the use of cURL has environmental dependencies, copying and pasting the examples might not work in your environment.

The following example shows a cURL command for sending an authentication request to the Identity service.

Example: cURL command for sending a JSON request

$ curl \
       -X POST \
       -d '{"auth":{"RAX-KSKEY:apiKeyCredentials":{"username":"$username","apiKey":"$apiKey"}}}' \
       -H "Content-type: application/json" | python -m json.tool

In this example, $apiKey is an environment variable that stores your API key value. Environment variables make it easier to reference account information in API requests, to reuse the same cURL commands with different credentials, and to keep sensitive information like your API key from being exposed when you send requests to Rackspace Cloud API services. For details about creating environment variables, see Configure environment variables.


The cURL request examples use a backslash (\) as a line-continuation symbol, which allows the command to continue across multiple lines.

The cURL examples in this guide use the following command-line options.




Sends the specified data in a POST request to the HTTP server. Use this option to send a JSON request body to the server.


Specifies an extra HTTP header in the request. You can specify any number of extra headers. Precede each header with the -H option.

Common headers in Rackspace API requests are as follows:

  • Content-Type: Required for operations with a request body.

    Specifies the format of the request body. Following is the syntax for the header where format is json:

    Content-Type: application/json
  • X-Auth-Token: Required. Specifies the authentication token.

  • X-Auth-Project-Id: Optional. Specifies the project ID, which can be your account number or another value.

  • Accept: Optional. Specifies the format of the response body.

    Following is the syntax for the header where the format is json, which is the default:

    Accept: application/json


Includes the HTTP header in the output.


Specifies silent or quiet mode, which makes cURL mute. No progress or error messages are shown.

If your cURL command is not generating any output, try replacing the -s option with -i.


Transfers the specified local file to the remote URL.


Specifies the request method to use when communicating with the HTTP server. The specified method is used instead of the default method, which is GET.

For commands that return a response, you can use json.tool to pretty-print the output. Append the following command to the cURL call:

| python -m json.tool

To use json.tool, import the JSON module. For information about json.tool, see JSON encoder and decoder.

If you run a Python version earlier than 2.6, import the simplejson module and use simplejson.tool. For information about simplejson.tool, see simplejson encoder and decoder.

If you do not want to pretty-print JSON output, omit this code.


If your request includes the -i option to show header output, do not try to pretty-print the output. Header information is not in JSON format, and the API service returns an error if you specify json.tool.

Convert cURL examples to run on Windows#

The cURL examples in the Rackspace API documentation use syntax supported on Mac OS® X, Linux, and UNIX systems. Microsoft Windows does not support the same format. However, you can run the examples on Windows after making the following changes:

  • Replace all the line-continuation backslash characters (\) with a caret (^), and remove any trailing spaces after the ^.

  • If an example includes JSON data, export the data to a text file. When you run the cURL command, use the @filename syntax to import the JSON data. Save the JSON data files in a directory, and run cURL commands from that directory.

The following example shows the cURL format for Linux and UNIX systems:

$ curl  \
      -X POST \
      -d '{"auth":{"RAX-KSKEY:apiKeyCredentials":{"username":"yourUserName","apiKey":"$apiKey"}}}' \
      -H "Content-type: application/json"

The following example shows the same request with the changes made for Windows systems:

$ curl  ^
       -X POST ^
       -d @credentials.txt  ^
       -H "Content-type: application/json"