API Tutorials

The NOMAD Repository and Archive offers all its functionality through an application programming interface (API). More specifically a RESTful HTTP API that allows you to use NOMAD as a set of resources (think data) that can be uploaded, accessed, downloaded, searched for, etc. via HTTP requests.

There are different tools and libraries to use the NOMAD API that come with different trade-offs between expressiveness, learning curve, and convinience:

  • use an HTTP program like curl or wget to directly use NOMAD from within a shell

  • use a generic Python HTTP library like requests

  • use more specific Python libraries like bravado that turn HTTP requests into NOMAD specific function calls based on an OpenAPI spec that NOMAD offers and that describes our API

  • directly in the browser via our generated swagger dashboard

  • use the NOMAD Python client library, which offers custom and more powerful implementations for certain tasks (currently only for accessing the NOMAD Archive)

This set of tutorials provides a few examples for common NOMAD tasks using the various options.

Using curl (or wget)

Terminal programs like curl act as an HTTP client and allow you to send requests and display or store the respective responses. HTTP basically allows you to GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE “resources” on a remote server. These resources are identified via URLs (=uniform resource locator). URLs usually consists of a protocol (e.g. HTTP), a domain (our servers), a path (a place on our servers), and query parameters (additional options).

NOMAD provides three main set of resources: repo (i.e. the NOMAD Repository), raw (raw uploaded files), archive (i.e. the NOMAD Archive). Within all these resource sets you have endpoints that either allow you to directly locate a NOMAD entry (i.e. an uploaded code run) or to ask a query to locate many NOMAD entries at the same time. Here, the repo will return the repository metadata for said entries, archive the archive data, …

Let’s say you want to see the repository metadata (i.e. the information that you see in our gui) for entries that fit search criteria, like compounds having atoms Si and O in it:

curl -X GET "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/repo/?atoms=Si&atoms=O"

Here we used curl to send an HTTP GET request to return the resource located by the given URL. In practice you can omit the -X GET (which is the default) and you might want to format the output:

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/repo/?atoms=Si&atoms=O" | python -m json.tool

You’ll see the the metadata of the first 10 entries that match your criteria. There are various other query parameters. You find a full list in the generated swagger dashboard of our API.

Besides search criteria you can determine how many results (per_page) and what page of results should be returned (page). If you want to go beyond the first 10.000 results you can use our scroll API (scroll=true, scroll_after). You can limit what properties should be returned (include, exclude). See the the generated swagger dashboard of our API for more parameters.

If you use the NOMAD Repository and Archive search interface and create a query, you can click th a <>-button (right and on top of the result list). This will give you some code examples with URLs for your search query.

Similar functionality is offered to download archive or raw data. Let’s say you have identified an entry (given via a upload_id/calc_id, see the query output), and you want to download it:

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/calc/JvdvikbhQp673R4ucwQgiA/k-ckeQ73sflE6GDA80L132VCWp1z/*" -o download.zip

With * you basically requests all the files under an entry or path.. If you need a specific file (that you already know) of that calculation:

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/calc/JvdvikbhQp673R4ucwQgiA/k-ckeQ73sflE6GDA80L132VCWp1z/INFO.OUT"

You can also download a specific file from the upload (given a upload_id), if you know the path of that file:

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/JvdvikbhQp673R4ucwQgiA/exciting_basis_set_error_study/monomers_expanded_k8_rgkmax_080_PBE/72_Hf/INFO.OUT"

If you have a query that is more selective, you can also download all results. Here all compounds that only consist of Si, O, bulk material simulations of cubic systems (currently ~100 entries):

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/query?only_atoms=Si&only_atoms=O&system=bulk&crystal_system=cubic" -o download.zip

Here are a few more examples for downloading the raw data of based on DOI or dataset. You will have to encode non URL safe characters in potential dataset names (e.g. with a service like www.urlencoder.org):

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/query?doi=10.17172/NOMAD/2020.03.18-1" -o download.zip
curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/query?dataset=Full%20ahnarmonic%20stAViC%20approach%3A%20Silicon%20and%20SrTiO3" -o download.zip

In a similar way you can see the archive of an entry:

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/archive/f0KQE2aiSz2KRE47QtoZtw/6xe9fZ9xoxBYZOq5lTt8JMgPa3gX" | python -m json.tool

Or query and display the first page of 10 archives:

curl "http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/archive/query?only_atoms=Si&only_atoms=O" | python -m json.tool

Using Python’s request library

Similar to curl in the shell, you can use requests in Python. Its a generic HTTP client library that allows you to send requests:

import requests
import json

response = requests.get("http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/archive/query?only_atoms=Si&only_atoms=O")
data = response.json()
print(json.dumps(data), indent=2)

Using bravado and our OpenAPI spec

The Python library bravado is also an HTTP client, but instead of generic GET URL style functions, it takes a formal specification of the NOMAD API and provides NOMAD specific functions for you.

from bravado.client import SwaggerClient
nomad_url = 'http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api'

# create the bravado client
client = SwaggerClient.from_url('%s/swagger.json' % nomad_url)
# perform the search request to print number of public entries
data = client.repo.search(atoms=['Si', 'O']).response().result
# print the total ammount of search results
# print the data of the first result

Read on and learn how to install bravado and perform various tasks, like:

  • upload some data

  • publish the data

  • find it

  • download it again

Python packages

We do not assume many specific python packages. Only the bravado package (available via pipy) is required. It allows us to use the nomad ReST API in a more friendly and pythonic way. You can simply install it the usual way

Optionally, if you need to access your private data, the package python-keycloak is required to conveniently acquire the necessary tokens to authenticate your self towards NOMAD.

pip install bravado
pip install python-keycloak

For the following code snippets, we need the following imports:

from bravado.requests_client import RequestsClient
from bravado.client import SwaggerClient
from bravado.exception import HTTPNotFound
from urllib.parse import urlparse
import time
import os.path
import sys

And optionally:

from bravado.requests_client import RequestsClient, Authenticator
from keycloak import KeycloakOpenID

An example file

Lets assume you have an example upload file ready. Its a .zip (.tgz would also work) with some VASP data from a single run at /example/AcAg/vasprun.xml, /example/AcAg/OUTCAR, … Lets keep the filename in a variable:

upload_file = 'example.zip'


We need to know the nomad installation to use and its respective API URL. To upload data you also need an account (email, password). The toy account used here, should be available on most nomad installations:

nomad_url = 'https://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api'
user = 'leonard.hofstadter@nomad-fairdi.tests.de'
password = 'password'

Using bravado

Bravado reads a ReST API’s definition from a swagger.json as it is provided by many APIs, including nomad’s of course.

host = urlparse(nomad_url).netloc.split(':')[0]
http_client = RequestsClient()
client = SwaggerClient.from_url('%s/swagger.json' % nomad_url, http_client=http_client)

Bravado also allows to use authentication, if required. The following would be a typical setup:

class KeycloakAuthenticator(Authenticator):
    """ A bravado authenticator for NOMAD's keycloak-based user management. """
    def __init__(self, user, password):
        self.user = user
        self.password = password
        self.token = None
        self.__oidc = KeycloakOpenID(

    def apply(self, request):
        if self.token is None:
            self.token = self.__oidc.token(username=self.user, password=self.password)
            self.token['time'] = time()
        elif self.token['expires_in'] < int(time()) - self.token['time'] + 10:
                self.token = self.__oidc.refresh_token(self.token['refresh_token'])
                self.token['time'] = time()
            except Exception:
                self.token = self.__oidc.token(username=self.user, password=self.password)
                self.token['time'] = time()

        request.headers.setdefault('Authorization', 'Bearer %s' % self.token['access_token'])

        return request

http_client = RequestsClient()
http_client.authenticator = KeycloakAuthenticator(user=user, password=password)
client = SwaggerClient.from_url('%s/swagger.json' % nomad_url, http_client=http_client)

Uploading data

Now, we can look at actually using the nomad API. The API is divided into several modules: uploads, repo, archive, raw, etc. Each provided functionality for a certain aspect of nomad.

The uploads endpoints can be used to, you guessed it, upload your data. But they also allow to get process on the upload processing; inspect, delete, and publish uploads; and get details about the uploaded data, which code input/output files where found, etc.

Uploading a file

Its simple, since bravado supports uploading files:

with open(upload_file, 'rb') as f:
    upload = client.uploads.upload(file=f).response().result

If you already have you file on the nomad servers, e.g. under /nomad/my_files/example.zip, you can skip the actual upload and say:

upload = client.uploads.upload(local_path='/nomad/my_files/example.zip').response().result

Supervising the processing

Once uploaded, nomad will extract the file, identify code data, parse and normalize the data. We call this processing and processing consists of tasks (uploading, extracting, parsing). You can consistently pull the API, to get an update on the processing and check if all tasks have completed.

while upload.tasks_running:
    upload = client.uploads.get_upload(upload_id=upload.upload_id).response().result
    print('processed: %d, failures: %d' % (upload.processed_calcs, upload.failed_calcs))

Once there are no more tasks running, you can check if your upload was a success. If it was not successful, you can also delete the upload again:

if upload.tasks_status != 'SUCCESS':
    print('something went wrong')
    print('errors: %s' % str(upload.errors))

    # delete the unsuccessful upload

Of course, you can also visit the nomad GUI (https://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/gui/uploads) to inspect your uploads. (You might click reload, if you had the page already open.)

Publishing your upload

The uploaded data is only visible to you. We call this staging. After the processing was successful and you are satisfied with our processing, you have to publish the upload. This also allows you to add additional meta-data to your upload (e.g. comments, references, coauthors, etc.). Here you also determine, if you want an embargo on your data.

Once the data was published, you cannot delete it anymore. You can skip this step, but the reset of the tutorial, will only work for you, because the data is only visible to you.

To initiate the publish and provide further data:

client.uploads.exec_upload_operation(upload_id=upload.upload_id, payload={
    'operation': 'publish',
    'metadata': {
        'comment': 'Data from a cool external project',
        'references': ['http://external.project.eu'],
        # 'coauthors': ['sheldon.cooper@ucla.edu'],  this does not yet work with emails
        # 'external_id': 'external_id'  this does also not work, but we could implement something like this

Publishing, also might take a while. You can inspect this analog to the upload processing:

while upload.process_running:
        upload = client.uploads.get_upload(upload_id=upload.upload_id).response().result
    except HTTPNotFound:
        # upload gets deleted from the upload staging area once published

This time we needed some exception handling, since the upload will be removed from the staging area, and you will get a 404 on the uploads endpoint.

Searching for data

The repo part of the API contains a search endpoint that support many different quantities to search for. These include formula (e.g. AcAg), system (e.g. bulk/2D/atom), spacegroup, authors, code (e.g. VASP), etc. In the following example, we search for the specific path segment AcAg.

result = client.repo.search(paths='AcAg').response().result
if result.pagination.total == 0:
    print('not found')
elif result.pagination.total > 1:
    print('my ids are not specific enough, bummer ... or did I uploaded stuff multiple times?')
calc = result.results[0]

The result of a search always contains the key pagination with pagination data (total, page, per_page) and results with an array of the search result. The search results depend on the type of search and their is no formal swagger model for it, therefore you get plain dictionaries.

Downloading data

The raw api allows to download data. You can do that either via bravado:

client.raw.get(upload_id=calc['upload_id'], path=calc['mainfile']).response()

In case of published data, you can also create plain URLs and use a tool like curl:

print('%s/raw/%s/%s' % (nomad_url, calc['upload_id'], calc['mainfile']))
print('%s/raw/%s/%s/*' % (nomad_url, calc['upload_id'], os.path.dirname(calc['mainfile'])))

There are different options to download individual files, or zips with multiple files.

Using curl to access the API

The shell tool curl can be used to call most API endpoints. Most endpoints for searching or downloading data are only GET operations controlled by URL parameters. For example:

Downloading data:

curl http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/query?upload_id=<your_upload_id> -o download.zip

It is a litle bit trickier, if you need to authenticate yourself, e.g. to download not yet published or embargoed data. All endpoints support and most require the use of an access token. To acquire an access token from our usermanagement system with curl:

curl --data 'grant_type=password&client_id=nomad_public&username=<your_username>&password=<your password>' \

You can use the access-token with:

curl -H 'Authorization: Bearer <you_access_token>' \
    http://nomad-lab.eu/prod/rae/api/raw/query?upload_id=<your_upload_id> -o download.zip


This was just a small glimpse into the nomad API. You should checkout our swagger-ui for more details on all the API endpoints and their parameters. You can explore the API via the swagger-ui and even try it in your browser.

NOMAD’s Python client library

This library is part devevloped by NOMAD. It is supposed to provide more powerful access to common yet complex tasks. It currently only support access to the NOMAD Archive. It has its separate documentation here.