Vault API Reference#

Software source code objects—e.g., individual files, directories, commits, tagged releases, etc.—are stored in the Software Heritage (SWH) Archive in fully deduplicated form. That allows direct access to individual artifacts, but require some preparation (“cooking”) when fast access to a large set of related objects (e.g., an entire repository) is required.

The Software Heritage Vault takes care of that preparation by asynchronously assembling bundles of related source code objects, caching, and garbage collecting them as needed.

The Vault is accessible via a RPC API documented below.

All endpoints are mounted at API root, which is currently at

Unless otherwise stated, API endpoints respond to HTTP GET method.

Object identification#

The vault stores bundles corresponding to different kinds of objects (see Data model).

The URL fragment :bundletype/:swhid is used throughout the vault API to identify vault objects. See SoftWare Heritage persistent IDentifiers (SWHIDs) for details on the syntax and meaning of :swhid.

Bundle types#


Flat bundles are simple tarballs that can be read without any specialized software.

When cooking directories, they are (very close to) the original directories that were ingested. When cooking other types of objects, they have multiple root directories, each corresponding to an original object (revision, …)

This is typically only useful to cook directories; cooking other types of objects (revisions, releases, snapshots) are usually done with git-bare as it is more efficient and closer to the original repository.

You can extract the resulting bundle using:

tar xaf bundle.tar.gz


A gzip-compressed git fast-export. You can extract the resulting bundle using:

git init
zcat bundle.gitfast.gz | git fast-import
git checkout HEAD


A tarball that can be decompressed to get a real git repository. It is without a checkout, so it is the equivalent of what one would get with git clone --bare.

This is the most flexible bundle type, as it allow to perfectly recreate original git repositories, including branches.

You can extract the resulting bundle using:

tar xaf bundle.tar.gz

Then explore its content like a normal (“non-bare”) git repository by cloning it:

git clone path/to/extracted/:swhid

Cooking and status checking#

Vault bundles might be ready for retrieval or not. When they are not, they will need to be cooked before they can be retrieved. A cooked bundle will remain around until it expires; after expiration, it will need to be cooked again before it can be retrieved. Cooking is idempotent, and a no-op in between a previous cooking operation and expiration.

POST /vault/:bundletype/:swhid#
GET /vault/:bundletype/:swhid#

Request body: optionally, an email POST parameter containing an e-mail to notify when the bundle cooking has ended.

Allowed HTTP Methods:

  • POST to request a bundle cooking

  • GET to check the progress and status of the cooking

  • HEAD



Status Codes:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json

    "id": 42,
    "fetch_url": "/api/1/vault/flat/:swhid/raw/",
    "swhid": ":swhid",
    "progress_message": "Creating tarball...",
    "status": "pending"

After a cooking request has been started, all subsequent GET and POST requests to the cooking URL return some JSON data containing information about the progress of the bundle creation. The JSON contains the following keys:

  • id: the ID of the cooking request

  • fetch_url: the URL that can be used for the retrieval of the bundle

  • swhid: the identifier of the requested bundle

  • progress_message: a string describing the current progress of the cooking. If the cooking failed, progress_message will contain the reason of the failure.

  • status: one of the following values:

    • new: the bundle request was created

    • pending: the bundle is being cooked

    • done: the bundle has been cooked and is ready for retrieval

    • failed: the bundle cooking failed and can be retried


Retrieve a specific bundle from the vault with:

GET /vault/:bundletype/:swhid/raw#

Allowed HTTP Methods: GET, HEAD, OPTIONS


Status Codes:
  • 200 OK – bundle available; response body is the bundle.

  • 404 Not Found – unavailable bundle; client should request its cooking.