Creating a web service client

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Moodle 2.0
Moodle web service function documentation.jpg
You need to know how to setup a web service first.

To see the API Documentation, connect as Admin and go to Administration > Plugins > Web services > API Documentation

Simple REST request example

To quickly test the web service works you can visit the end point from the browser or via curl. For example to call a function via REST protocol:

$ curl ""

Customise the parameters wstoken and wsfunction to match the server side setup. Append additional parameters for the function call as needed with "&parameter_name=param", or if your parameter is an array then use "&array_name[index][parameter_name]=param". With the core_user_create_users function's (required) parameters for example:

$ curl "...&moodlewsrestformat=json&wsfunction=core_user_create_users&moodlewsrestformat=json&users[0][username]=testuser&users[0][firstname]=Anne&users[0][lastname]=Example..."

The moodlewsrestformat parameter affects the response format and can be either xml (default) or json.

Officially supported protocols

The Moodle REST server accepts GET/POST parameters and return XML/JSON values. This server is not RESTfull.
The Moodle SOAP server is based on the Zend SOAP server (itself based on the PHP SOAP server). Zend publishes a Zend SOAP client. The current server implementation doesn't fully work with Java/.Net because we didn't generated a fully describe WSDL yet. If you are working on a Java/.Net client, follow or participate to the tracker issues MDL-28988 / MDL-28989
The Moodle XML-RPC server is based on Zend XML-RPC server. Zend also publishes a Zend XML-RPC client.
the Moodle AMF server is based on the Zend AMF server. The test client can be found in Settings blocks > Site Administration > Development > Web service test client > AMF Test client.

Demo client examples

Demo client sample codes can be downloaded on Github.

For HTML5 app creators, you can also find:

Node.js apps can use the moodle-client module.

A Java Library for REST can be found on Sourceforge.

A PHP Library for REST can be found on GitHub.

A Go Library for REST can be found on GitHub.

How to get a user token

Moodle 2.2

Your client can call the script located in /login/token.php with a simple HTTP request. We highly recommend to do it securely with HTTPS. The required parameters are:

  • username
  • password
  • service shortname - The service shortname is usually hardcoded in the pre-build service (db/service.php files). Moodle administrator will be able to edit shortnames for service created on the fly: MDL-29807. If you want to use the Mobile service, its shortname is moodle_mobile_app. Also useful to know, the database shortname field can be found in the table named external_services.




Difference between Moodle versions

  • Moodle 2.2 and later: the script can generate user tokens for any service shortname (of course users must be allowed on the service, see How to create and enable a web service).
  • Moodle 2.1: the script can only generate tokens for the official built-in mobile service. However the script can returns tokens for other services, they just need to have been previously generated.

About service shortname

At the moment a service can have a shortname if you:

  • create the service as a built-in service (in db/services.php files)
  • add the shortname manually in the DB. Note: we'll add the admin UI for shortname later (MDL-30229)

Text formats

Moodle 2.0 to 2.2

Moodle 2.0

HTML is the format sent/received by web service functions. All returned file urls are converted to 'http://xxxx/webservice/pluginfile.php/yyyyyyyy'

Moodle 2.3 and later

Moodle 2.3

Since Moodle 2.3 you can add few GET/POST parameters to your request (for devs who have a good knowledge of File API and format_text()):

  • moodlewssettingraw => false by default. If true, the function will not apply format_text() to description/summary/textarea. The function will return the raw content from the DB.
  • moodlewssettingfileurl => true by default, returned file urls are converted to 'http://xxxx/webservice/pluginfile.php/yyyyyyyy'. If false the raw file url content from the DB is returned (e.g. @@PLUGINFILE@@)
  • moodlewssettingfilter => false by default. If true, the function will filter during format_text()

See also