Add a REST API source

Coveo has dedicated connectors for many web and on-premises systems, therefore allowing you to quickly make application content searchable. See the Connector Directory for the full list.

However, there may be applications of which you want to index the content, but for which there’s no dedicated connector. In such a case, when you have the required privileges, you can use a REST API source to retrieve and make the desired content searchable with Coveo.

A REST API source allows you to crawl content from a remote repository exposing its data through a REST API. When creating your source, you must provide a JSON REST configuration instructing Coveo to retrieve items from the repository REST services and their respective resource endpoints. This configuration indicates which API calls to execute to fetch the desired items, how to parse the responses to extract relevant metadata, and which content type these items represent.

When working on your REST API source, you may also want to refer to the following articles:

Example

Your company uses Vimeo to host videos. You want to make these videos, along with their comments, accessible through your intranet’s search page. So, you create a REST API source that will query Vimeo’s API to index the desired content.

Tip
Leading practice

The number of items that a source processes per hour (crawling speed) depends on various factors, such as network bandwidth and source configuration. See About crawling speed for information on what can impact crawling speed, as well as possible solutions.

Source key characteristics

Features Supported Additional information

Content update operations

refresh

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For each endpoint you define in your source configuration, you can provide a refresh endpoint to override the initial endpoint. When you do so, the connector can add, update, or delete specific items in the index instead of refreshing the entire repository. However, the following limitations currently apply:

  • Only refresh queries using the date of the last refresh operation can be made. Tokens can’t be used.

  • A sub-item can’t be refreshed if its parent item isn’t detected as modified.

rescan

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Takes place every day by default.

rebuild

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Content security options

Same users and groups as in your content system

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If your source configuration includes the PermissionType parameter, you must provide a JSON configuration detailing how to extract the relationships of the indexed permissions.

Specific users and groups

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Everyone

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Commerce requirements

When using a REST API source to index commerce-specific content, such as products, variants, and availabilities, you have to undergo a catalog configuration process to benefit from all commerce-related capabilities.

More specifically, you must:

Note that additional configuration is required. Contact your Customer Success Manager to discuss your options.

Enable Coveo Personalization-as-you-go

Coveo Machine Learning tools include Coveo Personalization-as-you-go (PAYG) capabilities for commerce use cases. This suite of advanced features learns from a user’s intent and reacts within a few clicks. PAYG models require the building of a product vector space to represent the products contained in your source. For REST API sources, Coveo PAYG needs to be enabled in order to produce the product vector space.

Warning

You must enable PAYG in your source before starting to index content in it.

To enable PAYG in your source

  1. Edit the source JSON configuration.

  2. Modify the parameters section by adding the following:

    "parameters": {
      "UseStreamApi": {
        "value": "true"
      }
    }

Catalog configuration

Behind the scenes, the REST API source uses the Stream API to push content to the Coveo index. Therefore, REST API sources must be associated with a commerce catalog to ensure a complete configuration. This allows the source to accurately build a product vector space.

For instructions on how to create a commerce catalog, see Commerce catalog.

Add a REST API Source

Follow the instructions below to add a REST API source using the desired content retrieval method.

  1. On the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page, click Add source.

  2. In the Add a source of content panel, click the Cloud (cloud-icon) or Crawling Module (crawlingmodule) tab, depending on your content retrieval context.

    Important

    With the latter, you must install the Coveo Crawling Module to retrieve your content.

  3. Click the REST API tile.

  4. Configure your source.

The completion steps are especially important when creating a source of this type.

Tip
Leading practice

It’s best to create or edit your source in your sandbox organization first. Once you’ve confirmed that it indexes the desired content, you can copy your source configuration to your production organization, either with a snapshot or manually.

See About non-production organizations for more information and best practices regarding sandbox organizations.

"Configuration" tab

In the Add a REST API Source panel, the Configuration tab is selected by default. It contains your source’s general and authentication information, as well as other parameters.

General information

Source name

Enter a name for your source.

Tip
Leading practice

A source name can’t be modified once it’s saved, therefore be sure to use a short and descriptive name, using letters, numbers, hyphens (-), and underscores (_). Avoid spaces and other special characters.

Paired Crawling Module

If your source is a Crawling Module source, and if you have more than one Crawling Module linked to this organization, select the one with which you want to pair your source. If you change the Crawling Module instance paired with your source, a successful rebuild is required for your change to apply.

Optical character recognition (OCR)

If you want Coveo to extract text from image files or PDF files containing images, enable the appropriate option.

The extracted text is processed as item data, meaning that it’s fully searchable and will appear in the item Quick view. See Enable optical character recognition for details on this feature.

"Authentication" section

In the Authentication section, all parameters are optional. Fill the appropriate boxes depending on the authentication type used by the source you want to make searchable.

  • If your source uses a HTTP, Basic, Kerberos, or NTLM authentication protocol, enter the Username and Password of the account with which you want to crawl the source. Then, use the @Username and @Password placeholders in your source JSON configuration instead of exposing the credentials in clear text. The account of which you enter the credentials must have access to all the content that you want to make searchable. See Source Credentials Leading Practices.

  • If your source uses the OAuth 2.0 authentication protocol, enter your content source Client ID, Client secret and Refresh token in the corresponding boxes. Then, use the @ClientID, @ClientSecret, and @RefreshToken placeholders in your source JSON configuration instead of exposing this information in clear text.

  • If your source uses an API key to authenticate, enter it in the API key box. Then, use the @ApiKey placeholder in your source JSON configuration instead of exposing the API key in clear text.

  • If your source doesn’t require authentication, leave all boxes empty.

"Content to include" section

In the JSON configuration box, enter your source JSON configuration.

For more information on the REST API source JSON configuration, see:

"Content security" tab

Select who will be able to access the source items through a Coveo-powered search interface. For details on this parameter, see Content security.

Note

If, while writing your source JSON configuration, you chose to index content access permissions and used the PermissionType parameter, you must select the Same users and groups as in your content system option and provide a JSON permission configuration detailing how to retrieve the relationships of each security identity and how to index this data.

"Access" tab

In the Access tab, set whether each group (and API key, if applicable) in your Coveo organization can view or edit the current source.

For example, when creating a new source, you could decide that members of Group A can edit its configuration while Group B can only view it.

See Custom access level for more information.

Completion

  1. Click Add Source/Save to add/save your source configuration.

  2. While writing your JSON configuration, you may have decided to populate fields that aren’t default fields. If you have not already created these fields for another source, you must create them in the Fields (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page before building your source.

    Examples
    • You decided to retrieve picture URIs and to have Coveo populate the pictureuri field with this data. Your item metadata therefore contains:

        "pictureuri": "%[picture.uri]"

      However, since the pictureuri field isn’t a default field like author or date, you must create it.

    • You have another REST API source populating the custom field facebookaccountid. When creating your new source, you therefore don’t need to create this field, as it’s already in the Fields (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page.

  3. Ensure that your source correctly maps all the fields to populate. In sources created before January 10, 2024, if a field doesn’t have a mapping, you must create one. In sources created after that date, Coveo will automatically populate fields whose name exactly matches a metadata key.

    Example

    In your content, profile picture URIs are stored under profilepic. If a pictureuri fields exists in your organization, you’ll create the following mapping to populate the pictureuri field with picture URIs: %[profilepic].

    However, if a profilepic field already exists in your organization, Coveo will automatically populate it with the profilepic value extracted from your content.

  4. On the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page, you must click Launch build or Launch rebuild in the source Status column to add the source content or to make your changes effective, respectively.

Limitation

When indexing content with the Crawling Module, ensure not to change space character encoding in an item’s URI, as Coveo uses URIs to distinguish items.

For example, an item whose URI would change from example.com/my first item to example.com/my%20first%20item wouldn’t be recognized as the same by Coveo. As a result, it would be indexed twice, and the older version wouldn’t be deleted.

Item URIs are displayed in the Content Browser (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au). We recommend you check where these URIs come from before making changes that affect space character encoding. Depending on your source type, the URI may be an item’s URL, or it may be built out of pieces of metadata by your source mapping rules. For example, your item URIs may consist of the main site URL plus the item filename, due to a mapping rule such as example.com/%[filename]. In such a case, changing space encoding in the item filename could impact the URI.

Ignoring "no first page" errors in subitems

When indexing your content, Coveo may encounter an HTTP error. By default, Coveo stops the crawling process when it encounters such an error.

However, you can configure your source to ignore specific errors and continue indexing.

Similarly, when requesting subitems from your API, Coveo will stop the indexing process if your API returns a 404 error rather than the first page of results. A 404 error on the first page prevents Coveo from indexing any of your subitems, as the missing first page contains the information needed to request the second page, such as a cursor or the URL of the next page.

However, you can configure your source to ignore this error and continue indexing. It will therefore finish indexing the other items of the same endpoint, including their subitems if the API returns valid result pages. Then, your source will move on to any other endpoint you’ve defined.

To ignore "no first page" errors in subitems

  1. On the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au), select your source, and then, in the More menu, click Edit JSON.

  2. In your source JSON configuration, in the parameters object, add the following:

    "SkipNoFirstPageErrorsInSubItems": {
      "value": "true"
    },
  3. Click Save and rebuild source.

This parameter applies to all subitem requests made by your source.

Required privileges

You can assign privileges to allow access to specific tools in the Coveo Administration Console. The following table indicates the privileges required to view or edit elements of the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page and associated panels. See Manage privileges and Privilege reference for more information.

Note

The Edit all privilege isn’t required to create sources. When granting privileges for the Sources domain, you can grant a group or API key the View all or Custom access level, instead of Edit all, and then select the Can Create checkbox to allow users to create sources. See Can Create ability dependence for more information.

Actions Service Domain Required access level

View sources, view source update schedules, and subscribe to source notifications

Content

Fields

View

Sources

Organization

Organization

Edit sources, edit source update schedules, and view the View and map metadata subpage

Content

Fields

Edit

Sources

Content

Source metadata

View

Organization

Organization

What’s next?