Cloudinary Blog

RESTful API for managing your website's images and other online assets

Image Management - REST API for Website Image Management
Different online services, websites and mobile applications have very different image management requirements. Despite the differences, the image management pipeline boils down to the same basic formula - upload the images, normalize them, store them and manipulate them to create derivatives (thumbnails, effects, watermarks, etc.). Afterwards, prepare them for delivery and make sure they are accessible to your users quickly and efficiently when browsing your website or using your mobile app.
 
When we set out to build Cloudinary, we envisioned a platform that could streamline an online service's entire asset management pipeline needs. We developed a simple yet powerful URL based API and made integration even simpler using client integration libraries for many web dev platforms and programming languages. It was a joy to see how each of our clients found new ways of utilizing our platform, hooking different API calls to solve scenarios we could barely imagine when Cloudinary was first conceived.
 
In the regular flow of web applications, this works perfectly. But sometimes, you'll want even more fine grained control over your online assets - browse through user uploaded images, find specific images, delete images, delete transformations and more. If you already tried Cloudinary, you probably know that you can use our Management Console for manually achieving such tasks via our web-based user interface. But as many of our customers told us and frequently requested, more control is sometimes required than what they can currently achieve manually.
 
Today, we've made another important step in making the Cloudinary platform even more customizable. 
 
Without further ado, we'd like to welcome Cloudinary's powerful new administrative API, an intuitive RESTful HTTP API for programmatically managing all of your Cloudinary hosted assets.
 

Supported Operations

When building the API, we did our best to cover all common management tasks:
  • Listing all uploaded images and raw files.
  • Receiving details and metadata for uploaded images, including timestamps, format, dimensions, etc.
  • Listing the derived images of uploaded images.
  • Finding all images that share a given tag.
  • Listing all transformations.
  • Listing tags.
  • Receiving transformation details.
  • Creating named transformations.
  • Updating an existing transformation.
  • Deleting images, raw files, derived images and transformations.
 

API Overview

The API is accessed using HTTPS to endpoints in the following format:
 
https://api.cloudinary.com/v1_1/:cloud_name/:action
 
For example, resource listing of the 'demo' account:
 
https://api.cloudinary.com/v1_1/demo/resources/images
 
Authentication is done using Basic Authentication over secure HTTP. Your Cloudinary API Key and API Secret are used for the authentication.
 
Request parameters are appended to the URL. The response is in a simple JSON snippet. Like any REST API, read-only requests are sent in HTTP GET while write requests are sent in PUT, POST and DELETE. 
 
For more details, check out our documentation page.
 
Our client libraries provide an easy to use wrapper for this URL-based API, utilizing your native programming language of choice. Request building and authentication are done automatically, and the JSON response is parsed and returned. 
 

Usage Examples

 
The following Ruby example lists all your Cloudinary hosted images:
$ result = Cloudinary::Api.resources
=> {"resources"=>
  [{"public_id"=>"sample1", 
    "format"=>"png",
    "version"=>1349196740, 
    "resource_type"=>"image", 
    "type"=>"upload",
    "created_at"=>"2012-10-02T16:52:20Z",
    "bytes"=>71376, "width"=>261, "height"=>253,
    "url"=>
     "https://res.cloudinary.com/sam/image/upload/v1349196740/sample1.png",
    "secure_url"=>
     "https://d3jpl91pxevbkh.cloudfront.net/sam/image/upload/v1349196740/sample1.png"},
   {"public_id"=>"sample2", 
    "format"=>"png",
    "version"=>1349196732, 
    "resource_type"=>"image", 
    "type"=>"upload",
    "created_at"=>"2012-10-02T16:52:12Z",
    "bytes"=>133171, "width"=>278, "height"=>432,
    "url"=>
     "https://res.cloudinary.com/sam/image/upload/v1349196732/sample2.png",
    "secure_url"=>
     "https://d3jpl91pxevbkh.cloudfront.net/sam/image/upload/v1349196732/sample2.png"},
 
    ... 
],
 "next_cursor"=>"e39ef944e18cfda7deafa4aea96791e7"}
Here's the same example in PHP:
require "cloudinary.php" ;
require "api.php" ;
$api = new \Cloudinary\Api();
$result = $api->resources();
Python:
import cloudinary.api
result = cloudinary.api.resources()
And Node.js:
var cloudinary = require('cloudinary');  
cloudinary.api.resources(function(result)  { console.log(result) });
By default, 10 results are returned in a single request. You can specify the max_results parameter if you want more results in a single request. You can use this in conjunction with the next_cursor parameter for paginating through all your assets.
 
The next example shows how to get the full details of a single uploaded image, including the list of its derived images:
$ result = Cloudinary::Api.resource("sample1")
=> {"public_id"=>"sample1",
 "format"=>"png",
 "version"=>1349196740,
 "resource_type"=>"image",
 "type"=>"upload",
 "created_at"=>"2012-10-02T16:52:20Z",
 "bytes"=>71376, "width"=>261, "height"=>253,
 "url"=>
  "https://res.cloudinary.com/sam/image/upload/v1349196740/sample1.png",
 "secure_url"=>
  "https://d3jpl91pxevbkh.cloudfront.net/sam/image/upload/v1349196740/sample1.png",
 "next_cursor"=>"f329da74de2a9ac9cbf99d2a6bc147b8",
 "derived"=>
  [{"transformation"=>"c_fill,h_50,r_20,w_70",
    "format"=>"png",
    "bytes"=>7313,
    "id"=>"a3b44a715c63f7ee91f11fb20b97c5df",
    "url"=>
     "https://.../sam/image/upload/c_fill,h_50,r_20,w_70/v1349196740/sample1.png",
    "secure_url"=>
     "https://.../sam/image/upload/c_fill,h_50,r_20,w_70/v1349196740/sample1.png"},
   {"transformation"=>"c_fill,h_75,w_75/jpg",
    "format"=>"jpg",
    "bytes"=>2889,
    "id"=>"7c0ca85b966b928179ce336fa2a7d1f8",
    "url"=>
     "https://.../sam/image/upload/c_fill,h_75,w_75/v1349196740/sample1.jpg",
    "secure_url"=>
    "https://.../sam/image/upload/c_fill,h_75,w_75/v1349196740/sample1.jpg"}]}
And now, the same example in PHP
$result = $api->resource("sample1");
Python:
cloudinary.api.resource("sample1")
And Node.js:
cloudinary.api.resource("sample1", function(result)  { console.log(result) })
One final example - getting the details of a single transformation, including a list of all images assigned to this transformation:
$ result = Cloudinary::Api.transformation("c_fill,h_75,w_75/jpg")
 
=> {"name"=>"c_fill,h_75,w_75/jpg",
       "allowed_for_strict"=>false,
       "used"=>true,
        "info"=>[{"width"=>75, "height"=>75, "format"=>"jpg", "crop"=>"fill"}],
        "derived"=>
  [{"public_id"=>"sample1",
    "resource_type"=>"image",
    "type"=>"upload",
    "format"=>"jpg",
    "url"=>
     "https://.../sam/image/upload/c_fill,h_75,w_75/v1349196740/sample1.jpg",
    "secure_url"=>
     "https://.../sam/image/upload/c_fill,h_75,w_75/sample1/sample1.jpg",
    "bytes"=>2889,
    "id"=>"7c0ca85b966b928179ce336fa2a7d1f8"},
  ...
]}
As you can see, the new API is quite powerful. Using this API allows for full control of all uploaded raw files and images, fetched social profile pictures, generated transformations and more. 
 
For more examples and a full reference, see our detailed documentation.
 

Usage Limits 

You can use the new API quite extensively. We ask for that you keep your ongoing API requests to 500 per hour (12,000 daily) when using our Free plan. Subscribe to Cloudinary's Basic plan onward to increase the limit to 2000 calls per hour. If you require more flexible limits, don't hesitate to contact us.
 
For each API call, standard HTTP headers are returned with details on your current usage statistics, including your per-hour limit, remaining number of actions and the time the hourly count will be reset.
 
Here is how these headers might look like:
 
    X-FeatureRateLimit-Limit: 500
    X-FeatureRateLimit-Remaining: 499
    X-FeatureRateLimit-Reset: Wed, 03 Oct 2012 08:00:00 GMT
 
Note that our client libraries provide easy access to the returned limit headers. In Ruby for example:
$ result = Cloudinary::Api.resource_types
 => {"resource_types"=>["image"]} 
$ result.rate_limit_allowed
 => 500 
$ result.rate_limit_reset_at
 => 2012-10-03 10:00:00 +0200 
$ result.rate_limit_remaining
 => 499  
 

Summary 

The new admin API is available for all our free and paid plans. It would be great if you try it out, and tell us what you think. 
We have interesting ideas on how to further enhance this new API. If your want to be in the loop, go ahead and subscribe to our blog or Like Cloudinary on Facebook, and receive our timely updates.

Recent Blog Posts

An Eye-Opening Talk: Building Apps for the Next Billion Users in Africa

William (iChuloo) Imoh, who hails from Lagos, Nigeria, recently embarked on a U.S. speaking tour, February 20-March 12, during which he powwowed with technical and product teams and communities at such renowned enterprises as Netlify, Pluralsight, Lucidchart, Twilio, and more in Salt Lake City, Dallas, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. On March 5, he gave an enlightening talk, entitled International Developers and Development: Building for the Next Billion Users at Cloudinary in Santa Clara, California. Below is a synopsis. For details, see the related slides.

Read more
The Debut of the Cloudinary Customer Advisory Board

Focus on customers has always been Cloudinary’s mantra. Because we owe them our success, we are constantly reaching out to our customers, not just for feedback on our offerings, but also for their vision, wish list, and buy-in of what Cloudinary can do to meet their needs and make them succeed. About six months ago, it occurred to us that it would be beneficial if we could meet regularly with those who are behind innovation at our key customers—executives, product gurus, developers, content managers—to swap strategies, product roadmaps, best practices, and such. In particular, we’d like to solicit actionable feedback as a foundation for our plans of product enhancements.

Read more
Media Management With the Cloudinary-Netlify CMS Integration

Static sites and the JAMstack are quickly becoming a standard for developing safe and performant websites with an optimal workflow for developers. Netlify CMS (not to be confused with the company that created it, Netlify) is an open source content management solution that works especially with static site generators such as Gatsby, Hugo, etc... enabling content storage in your Git repository along with your code for easier versioning, multichannel publishing, and direct content updates in Git.

Read more
Vitaly Friedman's Insights on Media Conferences

Vitaly Friedman is a die-hard devotee of beautiful content. Born in Minsk, Belarus, he studied Computer Science and Mathematics in Germany, unearthing in himself a passion for typography, writing, and design in the interim. After a six-year stint as a freelance designer and developer, he co-founded Smashing Magazine, a leading online publication on web design and development. You can follow SmashingMag on Twitter @SmashingMag.

Read more