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What is the XNAT API?

Back in 2005, in the strange and heady times of post-bubble dot-com development, Dan Marcus took a trip to Amazon headquarters to meet their CTO and promote a very young XNAT among up and coming "big data" research tools. He was blown away by Amazon's commitment to developing their nascent Amazon Web Services software as a services platform, powered entirely - inside and out - by a commonly accessible API. That inspired the XNAT development team to commit to making its capabilities – creating, organizing, searching and downloading data – powered by a set of RESTful services, accessible by a common API.


The API has grown and evolved considerably since its first appearance in XNAT 1.3 – to the point that our documentation is still trying to keep pace. Please pardon our dust as we continue to build out this section over the coming months. 


With the release of XNAT 1.7, a second API standard has been added, and will become the default for all new development. This is known as the XAPI. Swagger documentation for XAPI functions, as well as a live console for performing XAPI commands, is available inside your XNAT webapp at Administer > Site Administration > Miscellaneous > Swagger Page.


Content by Label


cqllabel = "api-basics"






Content in development:

  • How to search XNAT via REST




API Notes for XNAT 1.7


Content in development:

  • /xapi vs /data vs /REST - XNAT 1.7 and the REST API Roadmap



The XNAT API Directory


This Directory combines all legacy XNAT REST API and new-generation XAPI commands that come installed on a default XNAT. Plugins or customizations may add new API calls that will not be documented here.

See: XNAT 1.7 REST API Directory