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API Overview


As part of the standard installation, Alation provides a library of RESTful APIs to interact with the Alation catalog.

Common use cases for the API library include, but are not limited to:

  • Generating data for reporting on metadata
  • Cataloging data objects (data sources, schemas, tables, columns) and BI objects (projects, workbooks, reports, etc.) that reside outside of the natively supported data sources and BI servers
  • Uploading custom data dictionaries and business glossaries
  • Uploading knowledge capital (wikis, SharePoint artifacts, etc.) in batch

Check out our full list of API definitions or see below for an overview of some common APIs.

Get Data Sources

Returns the following attributes for any data source that is configured in the Alation catalog:

  • ID
  • Type
  • Title
  • Description
  • Virtual Data Source Flag (true/false)
  • Relative URL to the data source within the catalog

Get Schemas

Returns the following information for all schemas within a single data source:

  • Data Source ID
  • Schema ID
  • Title
  • HTML Description
  • Custom Fields
  • Relative URL path to the Alation catalog page for the schema
  • Fully qualified name of the schema in the database


Returns logical and physical metadata from the Alation Catalog for any data objects (data source, schema, table, column). The metadata that can be extracted from the catalog with this API is:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Data Object Name
  • Datatype
  • Custom Fields


Returns the SQL text and result sets for any query that has been cataloged in Alation or executed through Compose (Alation’s query tool).


Alation will automatically catalog any lineage that is found within the metadata or query logs for a given data source. For any lineage that is not captured in the metadata or query logs (e.g. ETL operations), this API can be used to upload that lineage into the lineage graph for any cataloged tables that are part of the lineage.

Custom Fields

Provides a mechanism for updating/creating titles, descriptions and custom fields in the catalog in batch. A common use case for this API is to upload custom data dictionaries or business glossaries into the catalog.

Report Sources

Provides a mechanism for retrieving metadata for report sources that have been configured in Alation as well as for updating the metadata for those report sources (within Alation) in batch. Metadata for report sources includes:

  • Title
  • Name
  • Description
  • Custom Fields
  • Hierarchies
  • Formulas
  • Source (Tableau, MicroStrategy, etc.)
  • Data Tables
  • Data Fields
  • Collections
  • Objects (views for Tableau, reports for MicroStrategy)
  • Previews (icons and full report snapshots)
  • Users/User Groups

Job Status

Returns the status of an Alation job (e.g. Metadata Extract, Query Log Ingestion, Data Profiling) given the URL of that job.