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API Return Formats

Overview

Coupa's API returns a lot of data by default (for example: full objects for associated objects). The API return payloads can be very large and therefore slow. This can be a problem for customers that do not need the extraneous data not to mention the unnecessary consumption of resources. 

To make things easier, Coupa has a return format  return_object=shallow that returns a limited JSON or XML response instead of the entire schema, and all associations, for an object. The concept of optionally specifying a return_object is not new, only the concept of the "shallow" format. If no return_object is specified then the full return value is returned.

How It Works

The optional query parameter return_object now supports the following 3 values:

  • none  : Nothing is returned. This is only supported for PUT and POST (not queries, like GET, where it doesn't make sense).
  • limited  : Only IDs are returned. This is supported for all commands.
  • shallow: This parameter returns all attributes/fields of the object being called and only the IDs and natural keys of the one-deep associations.

The parameter return_object=shallow is supported for the following:

  • POST commands
  • PUT commands
  • GET commands

The fields query operator allows you to pass the fields you want in the response body. The format of the fields value is JSON. Please refer to the example below:

?fields=["id","invoice_number",{"invoice_lines":["id","line_num"]}]

Return Object

You can use the return_object param to control the response body format on any basic create, update, or query calls.

On create and update return_object values supported are: none, limited, and shallow.

On query calls values supported are: limited and shallow.

Example: limited response on query

Query:  https://example.coupahost.com/api/expense_reports?return_object=limited
Response Code:  200
Response Body:
{“id”:1}

Example: none response on create

POST:  https://example.coupahost.com/api/ex...rn_object=none
Request Body:
{
 "id":2,
 "currency":{
   "code":"USD"
 },
 "expense-lines":[
   {
     "description":"Airfare to Reno",
     "merchant":"American Airlines",
     "reason":"",
     "amount":"255.0",
     "expense-date":"2010-02-05T00:00:00-08:00",
     "start-date":"2010-02-05T00:00:00-08:00",
     "expense-category":{
       "name":"Airfare",
     }
   },
 ],
}
Response Code:  200
Response Body:

Example: shallow response on create

Query:  https://example.coupahost.com/api/ex...object=shallow
Response Code:  200
Response Body:
{
 "id":158,
 "created-at":"2010-09-22T20:42:57-07:00",
 "updated-at":"2014-04-24T14:56:49-07:00",
 "title":"",
 "status":"pending_approval",
 "submitted-at":"2014-04-24T14:56:49-07:00",
 "auditor-note":null,
 "reject-reason":null,
 "paid":false,
 "total":"567.07",
 "audit-score":26,
 "exported":false,
 "last-exported-at":null,
 "external-src-ref":null,
 "external-src-name":null,
 "currency":{
   "id":1,
   "code":"USD"
 },
 "expensed-by":{
   "id":20,
   "login":"user_login",
   "email":"user_login@coupa.com"
 },
 "created-by":{
   "id":20,
   "login":"user_login",
   "email":"user_login@coupa.com"
 },
 "updated-by":{
   "id":20,
   "login":"user_login",
   "email":"user_login@coupa.com"
 },
 "expense-lines":[
   {
     "id":546,
     "external-src-ref":null
   },
   {
     "id":547,
     "external-src-ref":null
   },
   {
     "id":548,
     "external-src-ref":null
   },
   {
     "id":549,
     "external-src-ref":null
   }
 ],
 "comments":[ ]
}
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