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AppNexus API Semantics

This page explains the basics of our API structure. If you are brand new to APIs, please see APIs for Beginners. Please also see API Usage Constraints and then you may wish to walk through a typical setup.

On This Page

API Endpoint

The URL for the API is https://api.appnexus.com. Please note that we recently changed this endpoint to reflect a product name change. If you are using the old endpoint, please shift to the above endpoint. We will alert you before deprecation of the old endpoint.

REST Semantics

AppNexus API services are "RESTful." REST (Representational State Transfer) is a type of software architecture in which requests model the communication from a web browser to a web server. Below are the central REST methods used in the AppNexus API Services and their uses:

POST

create/add

GET

read/retrieve

PUT

update/modify

DELETE

delete

When making a POST or PUT request, you pass along a JSON-formatted file with the data to create or update. For PUT requests, only the fields included in the JSON-formatted file will be updated, except in the case of arrays. When updating an array, all fields in the array are completely replaced with the information in the JSON-formatted file. This means that, if the array already includes fields, you must include those fields in the JSON-formatted file; otherwise, they will be deleted from the array.

Example PUT request for updating an array

Using cURL

In our documentation we use curl to make REST requests. Curl is a command-line tool for transferring files with URL syntax, supporting FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SCP, SFTP, TFTP, TELNET, DICT, LDAP, LDAPS and FILE. The example scripts on each API wiki page should make clear the structure of the curl commands you will need to run AppNexus API services, but here's a generic example making a POST request. The example is hitting the creative service, probably to add a new creative to our system.

curl -b cookies -c cookies -X POST -d @some.jsonfile 'http://api.appnexus.com/creative'

Chunk of Request

What it Means

-c cookies

Creates a text file called "cookies" and stores your session token (assigned by the Authentication Service). Please note, this is not necessary to include after the initial authentication, but we tend to include it in examples just to keep things neat.

-b cookies

Retrieves the authentication token that you previously stored in this file.

-X

Indicates that you are going to make a certain type of request, in this case "POST."

-d

Indicates that you are going to upload a file, in this case "some.jsonfile."

'http://api.appnexus.com/creative'

The URL of the service you are making the request to. Best to use quotes in case you have any funky characters in your URL.

Use Single Quotes Around Your Request URL

Some requests require single quotes around your request URL, as in the above curl request. If you get an error message, make sure your request URL has single quotes before troubleshooting further.

Filtering and Sorting

Please see: API Filtering and Sorting

Meta: What Fields Are Available

In almost all services you can add /meta to the end of the URL and get a list of the fields included in the service. You will also see the "type," such as integer, and whether or not you can sort and filter by that field. For example:

JSON Basic Structure

A Basic JSON structure

Here's the syntax of the components of a JSON object and what they mean.

object

array

string

assignment of an alphanumeric value to a string

assignment of a numeric value to a string

Example:

JSON Field Types

POST and PUT requests require JSON-formatted data. For PUT requests, only the JSON fields included in a request will be updated. All other fields will be unchanged.

Different fields require different types of values. The table of types below extends those defined in the JSON standard. For more information about JSON, see http://json.org.

Type

Description

Example

Boolean

True or false.

true

String(100)

A string of 100 characters or less.

"Homepage Pixel"

Int

An integer.

87

Decimal

A generic decimal number.

3.0

Float

A floating-point number with 32-bit precision.

3.14...

Double

A floating-point number with 64-bit precision.

3.14...

Enum

One of a number of predetermined values.

"male" or "female"

Money

A floating-point numeric value used to represent money. For more information, see Vertica's Numeric Data Types.

19.23

Timestamp

A date and time string in the form YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.

"2009-01-14 05:41:04"

Date

See 'Timestamp' above.

 

Multi-Object

A wrapper for any sub-fields under the current field. In the example that follows, the field "brand" is a multi-object.

Array

A list containing one or more values.

A Note on Underscores and Hyphens

Most multi-word fields and values use underscores rather than hyphens, but we are cleaning up some occasional inconsistencies. Please note, however, that service names are hyphenated.

Service example: https://api.appnexus.com/insertion-order
Field example: "audit_type_direct": "platform_or_self"

Authentication

Before you can use the APIs, you will authenticate yourself with your username and password. Please see Authentication Service for details.

Response Codes

All API Services return JSON-formatted data. When Service calls are successful, the JSON response will include a "status" field set to "OK". The response to POST and PUT calls will also include the ID of the relevant object, such as member, tag, or creative, as well as any relevant attributes of that object. Every response will include "dbg_info" fields that convey information about the API call and response, such as the API machine that processed the request and the version of the API.

In the example below, we are using cookies to store our authentication token and adding the file "creative" to advertiser 123 with the Creative Service.

Field

Type

Description

instance

string

The API machine which processed the request.

slave_hit

Boolean

Whether or not the API machine ran SQL queries on a database slave.

db

string

The database the query was executed on.

reads

int

The number of reads made.

read_limit

int

The limit on the number of reads.

read_limit_seconds

int

The time period over which the read_limit is enforced.

writes

int

The number of writes made.

write_limit

int

The limit on the number of writes.

write_limit_seconds

int

The time period over which the write_limit is enforced.

time

decimal 

The amount of time it took to process the API request, expressed in milliseconds.

start_microtime

decimal 

The Unix timestamp of the start time of processing, including milliseconds (right side of the decimal point).

version

string

The version of the API.

Error Messages

When invalid input is sent to the API - for example, an incorrect password - a JSON response will be returned with "error" and "error_id" fields.

The "error" field is useful for debugging purposes, as it contains a verbose description of the error. The "error_id" field can be used programatically as follows.

Error_ID

Meaning

Logic

NOAUTH

Authentication information is either missing or invalid

Use /auth to get a valid token

UNAUTH

The user is not authorized to take the requested action

Check 'error' message and make sure logic is correct in code

SYNTAX

The syntax of the request is incorrect

Use the 'error' message to identify the issue and fix the code

SYSTEM

A system error has occurred

Contact AppNexus

INTEGRITY

A client request is inconsistent; for example, an attempt to delete a default creative attached to an active placement

Check the request for integrity

SSL

Please use https://api.appnexus.com for secure data and authentication.

Further Reading

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