API Validation

bp api-validation

Currently, Keystone has different implementations for validating request bodies. The purpose of this blueprint is to track the progress of validating the request bodies sent to the Keystone server, accepting requests that fit the resource schema and rejecting requests that do not fit the schema. Depending on the content of the request body, the request should be accepted or rejected consistently regardless of the resource the request is for.

Problem Description

Currently Keystone doesn’t have a consistent request validation layer. Some resources validate input at the resource controller and some fail out in the backend. Ideally, Keystone would have some validation in place to catch disallowed parameters and return a validation error to the user.

The end user will benefit from having consistent and helpful feedback, regardless of which resource they are interacting with.

Use Case: As an End User, I want to observe consistent API validation regardless of the backend being used and values passed to the Keystone server.

Proposed Change

One possible way to validate the Keystone API is to use jsonschema (https://pypi.python.org/pypi/jsonschema). A jsonschema validator object can be used to check each resource against an appropriate schema for that resource. If the validation passes, the request can follow the existing flow of control to the resource manager to the backend. If the request body parameters fail the validation specified by the resource schema, a validation error will be returned from the server.

Example: “Invalid input for field ‘email’. The value is ‘some invalid email value’.

We can build in some sort of truncation check if the value of the attribute is too long. For example, if someone tries to pass in a 200 character email address we should check for that case and then only return a useful message, instead of spamming the logs. Truncating some really long email address might not help readability for the user, so return a message to the user with what failed validation.

Example: “Invalid input for field ‘email’.”

Some notes on doing this implementation:

  • Common parameter types can be leveraged across all Keystone resources. An example of this would be as follows:

    from keystone.common.validation import parameter_types
    CREATE = {
        'type': 'object',
        'properties': {
            'name': parameter_types.name,
            'description': parameter_types.description,
            'enabled': parameter_types.boolean,
            'url': parameter_types.url
        'required': ['name'],
        'additionalProperties': True,
  • The validation can take place at the controller layer.

  • Initial work will include capturing the Identity API Spec for existing resources in a schema. This should be a one time operation for each major version of the API. This will be applied to the Identity V3 API.

  • The current implementation up for review uses a method decorator in the resource controller [1]. This is a fairly simple change and doesn’t clutter the existing controller code.

  • When adding a new extension to Keystone, the new extension must be proposed with its appropriate schema.

There are a couple notes on how to deal with different backend constraints. The validator will have to honor the Identity API Spec but it will also have to account for the cases specific to the backend. Example, the SQL backend allows for 255 character user names but the LDAP backend doesn’t have a restriction against the length of user names. In this case, we could do the following:

  • Validate against the least common denominator at the controller layer, unlimited in this example.
  • Have the backend call back to the validator, giving it a value to validate with. Example, the SQL backend understands the schema, so when asked the limit of user names, it could return 255.


Another alternative would be to map the properties from the incoming request to Python objects and enforce the contract that way. This might be a tougher choice since Python is not stictly typed.

For the time being, jsonschema will fill this requirement. If at some point jsonschema no longer meets the needs of validating requests we can look into another framework, or consider building our own validation framework, specific to the use cases we need.

Voluptuous might be another option for input validation.

There have been discussions about using Pecan as the web frame work for Keystone. Pecan does offer input validation in conjunction with WSME. If/When Keystone moves over to using Pecan, the validation layer may be refactored then. This implementation should be sufficient and work with Pecan until it is decided if validation will live with Pecan or not.

Data Model Impact

The incoming request could be represented as an object, in which case the request object would have the jsonschema validator as an attribute.

This blueprint shouldn’t require a database migration or schema change.

There is discussion about implementing the request as an object, which jamielennox has posted in a review.


This blueprint shouldn’t affect the existing API. In the event that it does, it will be correcting the API to follow the Identity API Spec, if possible. See the API Change Guidelines. In the event a bug is discovered in a stable release that has already shipped, we will need to address in a case-by-case basis and update the API spec accordingly.

Security Impact

The output from the request validation layer should not compromise data or expose private data to an external user. Request validation should not return information upon successful validation. In the event a request body is not valid, the validation layer should return the invalid values and/or the values required by the request, of which the end user should know. The parameters of the resources being validated are public information, described in the Identity API spec, with the exception of private data. In the event the user’s private data fails validation, a check can be built into the error handling of the validator to not return the actual value of the private data.

jsonschema documentation notes security considerations for both schemas and instances: http://json-schema.org/latest/json-schema-core.html#anchor21

Notifications Impact


Other End User Impact


Performance Impact

Changes required for request validation do not require any locking mechanisms.

Other Deployer Impact


Developer Impact

This will require developers contributing new extensions to Keystone to have a proper schema representing the extension’s API.



Primary assignee: ldbragst (Lance Bragstad <ldbragst@us.ibm.com> <lbragstad@gmail.com>)

Other contributors: jamielennox (Jamie Lennox <jamielennox@redhat.com>)

Work Items

  1. Initial validator implementation, which will contain common validator code designed to be shared across all resource controllers validating request bodies.
  2. Introduce validation schemas for existing core API resources.
  3. Introduce validation schemas for existing API extensions.
  4. Enforce validation on proposed core API additions and extensions.




Tempest tests can be added as each resource is validated against its schema. These tests should walk through invalid request types.

We can follow some of the validation work already done in the Nova V3 API:

Negative validation tests should use tempest.test.NegativeAutoTest

Documentation Impact