Synnefo Developer’s Guide

This is the complete Synnefo Developer’s Guide. Here we document all Synnefo APIs to allow external developers write independent tools that interact with Synnefo.

IM API (Astakos)

This is the Identity Management API:

Compute API (Cyclades)

This is the Cyclades Compute API:

Network API (Cyclades)

The Network API is currently implemented inside Cyclades. Please consult the Compute API for more details.

Images API (Plankton)

This is the Plankton Image API:

Implementing new clients

In this section we discuss implementation guidelines, that a developer should take into account before writing his own client for the above APIs. Before, starting your client implementation, make sure you have thoroughly read the corresponding Synnefo API.

Pithos clients

User Experience

Hopefully this API will allow for a multitude of client implementations, each supporting a different device or operating system. All clients will be able to manipulate containers and objects - even software only designed for OOS API compatibility. But a Pithos interface should not be only about showing containers and folders. There are some extra user interface elements and functionalities that should be common to all implementations.

Upon entrance to the service, a user is presented with the following elements - which can be represented as folders or with other related icons:

  • The home element, which is used as the default entry point to the user’s “files”. Objects under home are represented in the usual hierarchical organization of folders and files.
  • The trash element, which contains files that have been marked for deletion, but can still be recovered.
  • The shared element, which contains all objects shared by the user to other users of the system.
  • The others element, which contains all objects that other users share with the user.
  • The groups element, which contains the names of groups the user has defined. Each group consists of a user list. Group creation, deletion, and manipulation is carried out by actions originating here.
  • The history element, which allows browsing past instances of home and - optionally - trash.

Objects in Pithos+ can be:

  • Moved to trash and then deleted.
  • Shared with specific permissions.
  • Made public (shared with non-Pithos+ users).
  • Restored from previous versions.

Some of these functions are performed by the client software and some by the Pithos+ server.

In the first version of Pithos, objects could also be assigned custom tags. This is no longer supported. Existing deployments can migrate tags into a specific metadata value, i.e. X-Object-Meta-Tags.

Implementation Guidelines

Pithos+ clients should use the pithos and trash containers for active and inactive objects respectively. If any of these containers is not found, the client software should create it, without interrupting the user’s workflow. The home element corresponds to pithos and the trash element to trash. Use PUT with the X-Move-From header, or MOVE to transfer objects from one container to the other. Use DELETE to remove from pithos without trashing, or to remove from trash. When moving objects, detect naming conflicts with the If-Match or If-None-Match headers. Such conflicts should be resolved by the user.

Object names should use the / delimiter to impose a hierarchy of folders and files.

The shared element should be implemented as a read-only view of the pithos container, using the shared parameter when listing objects. The others element, should start with a top-level GET to retrieve the list of accounts accessible to the user. It is suggested that the client software hides the next step of navigation - the container - if it only includes pithos and forwards the user directly to the objects.

Public objects are not included in shared and others listings. It is suggested that they are marked in a visually distinctive way in pithos listings (for example using an icon overlay).

A special application menu, or a section in application preferences, should be devoted to managing groups (the groups element). All group-related actions are implemented at the account level.

Browsing past versions of objects should be available both at the object and the container level. At the object level, a list of past versions can be included in the screen showing details or more information on the object (metadata, permissions, etc.). At the container level, it is suggested that clients use a history element, which presents to the user a read-only, time-variable view of pithos contents. This can be accomplished via the until parameter in listings. Optionally, history may include trash.

Uploading and downloading data

By using hashmaps to upload and download objects the corresponding operations can complete much faster.

In the case of an upload, only the missing blocks will be submitted to the server:

  • Calculate the hash value for each block of the object to be uploaded. Use the hash algorithm and block size of the destination container.
  • Send a hashmap PUT request for the object.
    • Server responds with status 201 (Created):
      • Blocks are already on the server. The object has been created. Done.
    • Server responds with status 409 (Conflict):
      • Server’s response body contains the hashes of the blocks that do not exist on the server.
      • For each hash value in the server’s response (or all hashes together):
        • Send a POST request to the destination container with the corresponding data.
  • Repeat hashmap PUT. Fail if the server’s response is not 201.

Consulting hashmaps when downloading allows for resuming partially transferred objects. The client should retrieve the hashmap from the server and compare it with the hashmap computed from the respective local file. Any missing parts can be downloaded with GET requests with the additional Range header.


Consider the following algorithm for synchronizing a local folder with the server. The “state” is the complete object listing, with the corresponding attributes.

# L: Local State, the last synced state of the object.
# Stored locally (e.g. in an SQLite database)

# C: Current State, the current local state of the object
# Returned by the filesystem

# S: Server State, the current server state of the object
# Returned by the server (HTTP request)

def sync(path):
    L = get_local_state(path)   # Database action
    C = get_current_state(path) # Filesystem action
    S = get_server_state(path)  # Network action

    if C == L:
        # No local changes
        if S == L:
            # No remote changes, nothing to do
            # Update local state to match that of the server
            update_local_state(path, S)
        # Local changes exist
        if S == L:
            # No remote changes, update the server and the local state
            update_local_state(path, C)
            # Both local and server changes exist
            if C == S:
                # We were lucky, both did the same
                update_local_state(path, C)
                # Conflicting changes exist


  • States represent file hashes (it is suggested to use Merkle). Deleted or non-existing files are assumed to have a magic hash (e.g. empty string).