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Client library development guidelines

This is a proposal for workflows that client libraries should support to make the experience with each library similar and users can easily adopt examples and workflows.

For best experience libraries should still embrace best practices common in their environments. This means clients can...

  • choose which kind of casing they use (see below).
  • feel free to implement aliases for methods.



Clients can use snake_case, camelCase or any method used commonly in their environment. For example, the API request to get a list of collections can either be names get_collections or getCollections. This applies for all names, including scopes, method names and parameters.


Methods usually have a different scope, in object-oriented (OO) programming methods would be part of a class. If programming languages don't have functionalities to scope you may need to simulate it somehow to prevent name collisions. Best practices for this will likely evolve over time.

Example for the version method in openEO:

  • Procedural style: openeo_version()
  • OO style:
    OpenEO obj = new OpenEO();

If you can't store scope data in an object, you may need to pass these information as argument(s) to the method.


  • Procedural style:
    $connection = openeo_connect("");
  • OO style:
    OpenEO obj = new OpenEO();
    Connection con = obj.connect("");

There are three types of scopes:

  • Root (only the scope openEO).
  • API (mostly methods hiding API calls). These may be implemented asynchronously. Method names across root and API scopes MUST be unique.
  • Content (mostly methods hiding the complexity of request and response content, i.e. JSON objects). Usually synchronously implemented. Method names should be prefixed if name collisions are likely. See the Capabilities scope for an example.


The parameters usually follow the request schemas in the openAPI specification. The parameters should follow their characteristics, for example regarding the default values.

Some methods have a long list of (optional) parameters. This is easy to implement for languages that support named parameters such as R. Other languages may have problems implementing this natively as they need to fill many parameters with default values. For example creating a job in R with a budget would lead to such a method call: createJob(process_graph = ..., null, budget = 123), but in PHP it would be: createJob(..., null, null, null, null, null, 123). This is not an ideal behaviour, therefore client developers might want to consider passing parameters in coupled in a dictionary or class to emulate named parameters. The example in PHP could be improved to createJob([process_graph => ..., null, budget => 123]).

ToDo: Allow sorting and other useful operations for lists?

Method mappings

Note: Subscriptions and some scopes for response JSON objects are still missing. We are open for proposals.

Parameters with a leading ? are optional.

Scope: openEO

Description Client method
Connect to a back-end, including authentication. Returns Connection. connect(url, ?auth_type, ?auth_options)
Get client library version. version()


  • auth_type in connect: null, basic or oidc (non-exclusive). Defaults to null (no authentication).
  • auth_options in connect: May hold additional data for authentication, for example a username and password for basic authentication.

Scope: Connection (API)

Description API Request Client method
Get the capabilities of the back-end. Returns Capabilities. GET / capabilities()
List the supported output file formats. GET /output_formats listFileTypes()
List the supported secondary service types. GET /service_types listServiceTypes()
List all collections available on the back-end. GET /collections listCollections()
Get information about a single collection. GET /collections/{name} describeCollection(name)
List all processes available on the back-end. GET /processes listProcesses()
Authenticate with OpenID Connect (if not specified in connect). GET /credentials/oidc autenticateOIDC(?options)
Authenticate with HTTP Basic (if not specified in connect). GET /credentials/basic authenticateBasic(username, password)
Get information about the authenticated user. GET /me describeAccount()
Lists all files from a user. Returns a list of File. GET /files/{user_id} listFiles(?user_id)
Creates a (virtual) file. Returns a File. None createFile(path, ?user_id)
Validates a process graph. POST /validate validateProcessGraph(process_graph)
Lists all process graphs of the authenticated user.Returns a list of ProcessGraph. GET /process_graphs listProcessGraphs()
Executes a process graph synchronously. POST /preview execute(process_graph, output_format, ?output_parameters, ?budget)
Lists all jobs of the authenticated user. Returns a list of Job. GET /jobs listJobs()
Creates a new job. Returns a Job. POST /jobs createJob(process_graph, output_format, ?output_parameters, ?title, ?description, ?plan, ?budget, ?additional)
Lists all secondary services of the authenticated user. Returns a list of Service. GET /services listServices()
Creates a new secondary service. Returns a Service. POST /services createService(process_graph, type, ?title, ?description, ?enabled, ?parameters, ?plan, ?budget)


  • user_id in listFiles and createFile: Defaults to the user id of the authenticated user.
  • options in authenticateOIDC: May hold additional data required for OpenID connect authentication.

Scope Capabilities (Content)

Should be prefixed with Capabilities if required. In non-object-oriented paradigms it is likely required as version() in this scope and the scope OpenEO could collide. For example, version() in this scope could be named openeo_capabilities_version() in procedural style.

Description Field Client method
Get openEO version. version version()
List all supported features / endpoints. endpoints listFeatures()
Check whether a feature / endpoint is supported. endpoints > ... hasFeature(method_name)
Get default billing currency. billing > currency currency()
List all billing plans. billing > plans listPlans()


  • method_name in hasFeature: The name of a client method in API scope.

Scope: File (API)

The File internally knows the user_id and the path.

Description API Request Client method
Download a user file. GET /files/{user_id}/{path} downloadFile(target)
Upload a user file. PUT /files/{user_id}/{path} uploadFile(source)
Delete a user file. DELETE /files/{user_id}/{path} deleteFile()


  • target in downloadFile: Path to a local file or folder.

Scope: Job (API)

The Job scope internally knows the job_id.

Description API Request Client method
Get all job information. GET /jobs/{job_id} describeJob()
Update a job. PATCH /jobs/{job_id} updateJob(?process_graph, ?output_format, ?output_parameters, ?title, ?description, ?plan, ?budget, ?additional)
Delete a job DELETE /jobs/{job_id} deleteJob()
Calculate an time/cost estimate for a job. GET /jobs/{job_id}/estimate estimateJob()
Start / queue a job for processing. POST /jobs/{job_id}/results startJob()
Stop / cancel job processing. DELETE /jobs/{job_id}/results stopJob()
Get document with download links. GET /jobs/{job_id}/results listResults(?type)
Download job results. GET /jobs/{job_id}/results > ... downloadResults(target)


  • type in listResult: Either json or metalink (non-exclusive). Defaults to json.
  • target in downloadResults: Path to a local folder.

Scope: ProcessGraph (API)

The ProcessGraph scope internally knows the pg_id (process_graph_id).

Description API Request Client method
Get all information about a stored process graph. GET /process_graphs/{pg_id} describeProcessGraph()
Update a stored process graph. PATCH /process_graphs/{pg_id} updateProcessGraph(?process_graph, ?title, ?description)
Delete a stored process graph. DELETE /process_graphs/{pg_id} deleteProcessGraph()

Scope: Service (API)

The Service scope internally knows the service_id.

Description API Request Client method
Get all information about a secondary web service. GET /services/{service_id} describeService()
Update a secondary web service. PATCH /services/{service_id} updateService(?process_graph, ?title, ?description, ?enabled, ?parameters, ?plan, ?budget)
Delete a secondary web service. DELETE /services/{service_id} deleteService()


The processes a back-end supports may be offered by the clients as methods in its own scope. The method names should follow the process names, but the conventions listed above can be applied here as well, e.g. converting filter_bands to filterBands. As parameters have no natural or technical ordering in the JSON objects, clients must come up with a reasonable ordering of parameters if required. This could be inspired by existing clients. The way of building a process graph from processes heavily depends on the technical capabilities of the programming language. Therefore it may differ between the client libraries. Follow the best practices of the programming language, e.g. support method chaining if possible.

Workflow example

Some simplified example workflows using different programming styles are listed below. The following steps are executed:

  1. Loading the client library.
  2. Connecting to a back-end and authenticating with username and password via OpenID Connect.
  3. Requesting the capabilities and showing the implemented openEO version of the back-end.
  4. Showing information about the "Sentinel-2A" collection.
  5. Showing information about all processes supported by the back-end.
  6. Building a simple process graph.
  7. Creating a job.
  8. Pushing the job to the processing queue.
  9. After a while, showing the job details, e.g. checking the job status.
  10. Once processing is finished, downloading the job results to the local directory /tmp/job_results/.

R (functional style)


con = connect("", "username", "password")
cap = capabilities()
cap %>% version()
con %>% describeCollection("Sentinel-2A")
con %>% listProcesses()

pgb = con %>% pgb()
processgraph = pgb$getCollection(name = "Sentinel-2A") %>% 
  pgb$filterBbox(east = 652000, west = 672000, north = 5161000, south = 5181000, srs = "EPSG:32632") %>%
  pgb$filterDaterange(extent = c("2017-01-01T00:00:00Z", "2017-01-31T23:59:59Z")) %>%
  pgb$NDVI(nir = "B4", red = "B8A") %>%
process_graph = con %>% toJSON(processgraph)

job = con %>% createJob(processgraph)
job %>% startJob()
job %>% describeJob()
job %>% downloadResults("/tmp/job_results/")

Python (mixed style)

import openeo

con = openeo.connect("", "username", "password")
cap = con.capabilities()
print cap.version()
print con.describe_collection("Sentinel-2A")
print con.list_processes()

processes = con.get_processes();
pg = processes.get_collection(name = "Sentinel-2A");
pg = processes.filter_bbox(pg, east = 652000, west = 672000, north = 5161000, south = 5181000, srs = "EPSG:32632")
pg = processes.filter_daterange(pg, extent = ["2017-01-01T00:00:00Z", "2017-01-31T23:59:59Z"])
pg = processes.NDVI(pg, nir = "B4", red = "B8A")
pg = processes.min_time(pg)

job = con.create_job(pg.graph)
print job.describe_job()

Java (object oriented style)

import org.openeo.*;

OpenEO obj = new OpenEO();
Connection con = obj.connect("", "username", "password");
Capabilities cap = con.capabilities();

ProcessGraphBuilder pgb = con.getProcessGraphBuilder()
// Chain processes...
ProcessGraph processGraph = pgb.buildProcessGraph();

Job job = con.createJob(processGraph);

PHP (procedural style)


$connection = openeo_connect("", "username", "password");
$capabilities = openeo_capabilities($connection);
echo openeo_capabilities_version($capabilites);
echo openeo_describe_collection($connection, "Sentinel-2A");
echo openeo_list_processes($connection);

$pg = openeo_process($pg, "get_collection", ["name" => "Sentinel-2A"]);
$pg = openeo_process($pg, "filter_bbox", ["east" => 652000, "west" => 672000, "north" => 5161000, "south" => 5181000, "srs" => "EPSG:32632"]);
$pg = openeo_process($pg, "filter_daterange", ["extent" => ["2017-01-01T00:00:00Z", "2017-01-31T23:59:59Z"]]);
$pg = openeo_process($pg, "NDVI", ["red" => "B4", "nir" => "B8A"]);
$pg = openeo_process($pg, "min_time");

$job = openeo_create_job($connection, $pg);
echo openeo_describe_job($job);
openeo_download_results($job, "/tmp/job_results/");