Accessing the API

URL structure

Indico allows you to programmatically access the content of its database by exposing various information like category contents, events, rooms and room bookings through a web service, the HTTP Export API.

The basic URL looks like:



  • WHAT is the element you want to export (one of categ, event, room, reservation)
  • LOC is the location of the element(s) specified by ID and only used for certain elements, for example, for the room booking (https://indico.server/export/room/CERN/120.json?ak=0...)
  • ID is the ID of the element you want to export (can be a - separated list). As for example, the 120 in the above URL.
  • TYPE is the output format (one of json, jsonp, xmlhtmlicsatom, bin)
  • PARAMS are various parameters affecting (filtering, sorting, ...) the result list
  • KEY, TS, SIG are part of the API Authentication.

Some examples could be:

See more details about querying in Exporters.

API Authentication


The HTTP Export API uses an API key and - depending on the config - a cryptographic signature for each request.

To create an API key, go to My Profile » HTTP API and click the Create API key button. This will create an API Key and a Secret Key (if signatures are required).

It is recommended to always use the highest security level. That means if only an API key is available always include it and if a secret key is available, always sign your requests. Since you might want to retrieve only public information (instead of everything visible to your Indico user) you can add the param onlypublic=yes to the query string.

It is also possible to re-use the existing Indico session. This only makes sense if your browser accesses the API, e.g. because you are developing on Indico and want to access the API via an AJAX request. Additionally this method of authentication is restricted to GET requests. To use it, add cookieauth=yes to the query string and do not specify an API key, timestamp or signature. To prevent data leakage via CSRF the CSRF token of the current session needs to be provided as a GET argument csrftoken or a HTTP header X-CSRF-Token.

Request Signing

To sign a request, you need the following:

  • The requested path, e.g. /export/categ/123.json
  • Any additional params, e.g. limit=10
  • The current UNIX timestamp
  • You API key and secret key
  1. Add your API key to the params (limit=10&ak=your-api-key)
  2. Add the current timestamp to the params (limit=10&ak=your-api-key&timestamp=1234567890)
  3. Sort the query string params (ak=your-api-key&limit=10&timestamp=1234567890)
  4. Merge path and the sorted query string to a single string (/export/categ/123.json?ak=your-api-key&limit=10&timestamp=1234567890)
  5. Create a HMAC-SHA1 signature of this string using your secret key as the key.
  6. Append the hex-encoded signature to your query string: ?ak=your-api-key&limit=10&timestamp=1234567890&signature=your-signature

Note that a signed request might be valid only for a few seconds or minutes, so you need to sign it right before sending it and not store the generated URL as it is likely to expire soon.

You can find example code for Python and PHP in the following sections.

If persistent signatures are enabled, you can also omit the timestamp. In this case the URL is valid forever. When using this feature, please make sure to use these URLs only where necessary - use timestamped URLs whenever possible.

Request Signing for Python

A simple example in Python:

import hashlib
import hmac
import urllib
import time

def build_indico_request(path, params, api_key=None, secret_key=None, only_public=False, persistent=False):
    items = params.items() if hasattr(params, 'items') else list(params)
    if api_key:
        items.append(('apikey', api_key))
    if only_public:
        items.append(('onlypublic', 'yes'))
    if secret_key:
        if not persistent:
            items.append(('timestamp', str(int(time.time()))))
        items = sorted(items, key=lambda x: x[0].lower())
        url = '%s?%s' % (path, urllib.urlencode(items))
        signature =, url, hashlib.sha1).hexdigest()
        items.append(('signature', signature))
    if not items:
        return path
    return '%s?%s' % (path, urllib.urlencode(items))

if __name__ == '__main__':
    API_KEY = '00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000'
    SECRET_KEY = '00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000'
    PATH = '/export/categ/1337.json'
    PARAMS = {
        'limit': 123
    print build_indico_request(PATH, PARAMS, API_KEY, SECRET_KEY)

Request Signing for PHP

A simple example in PHP:


function build_indico_request($path, $params, $api_key = null, $secret_key = null, $only_public = false, $persistent = false) {
    if($api_key) {
        $params['apikey'] = $api_key;

    if($only_public) {
        $params['onlypublic'] = 'yes';

    if($secret_key) {
        if(!$persistent) {
            $params['timestamp'] = time();
        uksort($params, 'strcasecmp');
        $url = $path . '?' . http_build_query($params);
        $params['signature'] = hash_hmac('sha1', $url, $secret_key);

    if(!$params) {
        return $path;

    return $path . '?' . http_build_query($params);

if(true) { // change to false if you want to include this file
    $API_KEY = '00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000';
    $SECRET_KEY = '00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000';
    $PATH = '/export/categ/1337.json';
    $PARAMS = array(
        'limit' => 123
    echo build_indico_request($PATH, $PARAMS, $API_KEY, $SECRET_KEY) . "\n";