This project provides common APIs for applications that live on VA.gov (formerly vets.gov APIs).
See the native setup instructions if you can't use docker
To start, fetch this code:
git clone https://github.com/department-of-veterans-affairs/vets-api.git
- Install Docker Engine and Docker Compose for your platform. We strongly recommend Docker Desktop for Mac or Windows users.
- Setup key & cert for localhost authentication to ID.me:
- Create a folder in your vets-api directory:
- Create an empty key and cert:
bash touch config/certs/vetsgov-localhost.crt touch config/certs/vetsgov-localhost.key
- Create a folder in your vets-api directory:
Disable signed authentication requests:
# settings.local.yml saml: authn_requests_signed: false
Sidekiq Enterprise is used for worker rate limiting and additional reliability in production and requires a license be configured on your development machine. If you do not have a license configured, the open source version of Sidekiq will be installed instead. This is not an issue unless you are specifically developing features that need Sidekiq Enterprise.
[If you do need Sidekiq Enterprise, you can follow instructions here to install the enterprise license on their systems.
DO NOT commit local Gemfile modifications that remove the
Running the app
A Makefile provides shortcuts for interacting with the docker images.
You can see all of the targets and an explanation of what they do with:
To run vets-api and its redis and postgres dependencies run the following command from within the repo you cloned in the above steps.
You should then be able to navigate to http://localhost:3000/v0/status in your browser and start interacting with the API. Changes to the source in your local directory will be reflected automatically via a docker volume mount, just as they would be when running rails directly.
make spec- Run the entire test suite via the docker image (alias for
rspec spec). Test coverage statistics are in
coverage/index.htmlor in CodeClimate
make guard- Run the guard test server that reruns your tests after files are saved. Useful for TDD!
make lint- Run the full suite of linters on the codebase.
make security- Run the suite of security scanners on the codebase.
make ci- Run all build steps performed in CI.
Running a rails interactive console
make console- Is an alias for
rails console, which runs an IRB like REPL in which all of the API's classes and environmental variables have been loaded.
Running a bash shell
To emulate a local install's workflow where you can run
directly within the vets-api docker instance you can use the
make bash command.
$ make bash Creating network "vetsapi_default" with the default driver Creating vetsapi_postgres_1 ... done Creating vetsapi_redis_1 ... done # then run any command as you would locally e.g. [email protected]:/src/vets-api# rspec spec/requests/user_request_spec.rb:26
Vets API is configured with Config. The
default configuration is contained in settings.yml. To
customize your setup, you can create a
config/settings.local.yml file with
configuration specific to your needs. For example, to configure Redis and
PostgreSQL (PostGIS is required), place something like this in that file:
database_url: postgis://pg_host:9999/custom_db redis: host: redis_host port: 9999
This is also where you will place any other customizations, such as API tokens or certificate paths.
Config settings that vary in value depending on the deployment environment will also need to be set appropriately for each environment in the relevant devops (Private Repo) configurations (dev-, staging-, and prod-settings.local.yml.j2).
Some examples of configuration that will need to be added to these files are:
- API keys/tokens
- 3rd party service hostnames, ports, and certificates/keys.
- Betamocks settings
Optional application configuration
The following features require additional configuration, click for details.
- Authentication with ID.me
- Facilities Locator
- My HealtheVet (MHV)
- Education Benefits
- Master Veteran Index (MVI)
To mock one or more of the above services see Betamocks
Vets API will still run in a limited capacity without configuring any of these features, and will run the unit tests successfully.
As a general technique, if you're running
vets-api in Docker and run into a problem, doing a
make rebuild is a good first step to fix configuration, gem, and other various code problems.
make up fails with a message about missing gems
Could not find %SOME_GEM_v0.0.1% in any of the sources Run `bundle install` to install missing gems.
There is no need to run
bundle install on your system to resolve this.
A rebuild of the
vets_api image will update the gems. The
vets_api docker image
installs gems when the image is built, rather than mounting them into a container when
it is run. This means that any time gems are updated in the Gemfile or Gemfile.lock,
it may be necessary to rebuild the
vets_api image using the
make rebuild- Rebuild the
vets-api upon each merge to
Each deploy is available here:
API request key formatting
When sending HTTP requests use the
X-Key-Inflection request header to specify
which case your client wants to use. Valid cases are
snake. For example if you set
X-Key-Inflection: camel then you can use
camelCase keys in your JSON request body and you will get back data with
camelCase keys in the response body. If the header is not provided then the
server will expect snake_case keys in the request body and output snake_case in
The goal is to have vets-api use supported versions of gems and Ruby, which is often the latest. However the versions are generally updated as need or availability arise. If you need a newer version of a gem, please submit a pull-request marked as
draft with just the gem updated and passing tests.