created_at2023-12-31 08:06:54.540958
updated_at2024-05-10 14:02:06.745943
descriptionA command line tool for hitting API endpoints
Robin Pedersen (ropez)




A command line tool for hitting API endpoints.

Basic setup

Create your project folder, containing a TOML config file, and HTTP request files for each API you want to hit.

Example layout:

├── hitman.toml
├── login.http
├── apple/get_apples.http
├── apple/post_new_apple.http
├── apple/delete_apple.http

The HTTP files are templates for literal HTTP requests. Variables in double curly braces will be substituted with values from the config file.

POST {{base_url}}/login HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json

    "username": "{{api_username}}",
    "password": "{{api_password}}"

The configuration file can contain global default variables, and target specific variables. It must contain at least one target, as a TOML table:

api_username = "admin"

base_url = "http://example.com"

base_url = "http://localhost:8080"

In addition to the main configuration file hitman.toml, there can be another called hitman.local.toml. The recommended setup, is to have a hitman.toml in a shared repository, and have a git ignored hitman.local.toml where each team member can have their personal credentials and such.

Substitutions can be nested, so that variables can contain references to other variables. For example:

authorization_header: "Authorization: Bearer {{auth_token}}"

Be careful, since there is currently no protection against cyclic references, something like foo: "{{foo}}" will likely overflow and crash.


First, select which target to use:

$ hitman --select

? Select target ›

Then run requests directly by passing a request file:

$ hitman login.http

Or, use the interactive mode:

$ hitman

? Make request ›

Capturing responses

The core concept of HITMAN is to extract values from responses, so that they can be referred to in templates, and substituted in subsequent requests.

A typical use-case, is to capture a token from a login response, and use it in the authorization header in subsequent requests:

We can define how values are to be extracted in the main config file, but more typically, we can define them specific to one request. We add request-specific configuration by creating a file with the same name as the request file, with .http.toml extension.

The _extract section defines which values are to be extracted from the response, as JSON-path expressions.

# login.http.toml

access_token = "$.result.access_token"
refresh_token = "$.result.refresh_token"

When receiving a successful login response, these values are extracted, and saved as configuration variables, which can be used in other requests:

GET {{base_url}}/apple HTTP/1.1
Authorization: Bearer {{access_token}}

Fallback values

A variable expression can have a default value, denoted by a pipe character: {{user_id | 1000}}.

When executing this request, if there is no value for user_id in scope, hitman will use the fallback value, dependig on how it was invoked.

By default, hitman will ask the user to input a value. The prompt will show to the user that there is a default value, which will be used if the user simple hits Enter, instead of the empty string.

When run in a non-interactive mode (-n, --flurry etc), the fallback value will be used without prompting the user, unless a value is specified in the config, or given on the command line.

List value selection

It's possible to specify multiple values for a variable in the config file, as a TOML array. By default, hitman will prompt the user to select a value from a menu, using arrow keys or fuzzy search.

Each value in the array can be specified as a simple scalar value (string, number etc), or each can be given as a table containing a name and value. The name will be shown to the user for selection, and value will be inserted into the request. A typical use-case for this, is when an API uses numerical IDs, which are inconvenient for selection.

Lists of substitution values can also be extracted from responses. Consider an API that has an end-point like GET /apples and GET /apple/{{apple_id}}. To be able to call the second end-point, we can set up the first to extract a list of all available ID's. The syntax for this extraction is as follows:

apple_id = { _ = "$", name = "$.name", value = "$.id" }

There are three JSON-path expressions. The key _ specifies how to extract the list from the response. It's assumed to point to a JSON array. In this case, the symbol $ simply means that the whole response should contain and array. In other cases, we might need something like $.items, $.data etc.

The other JSON-paths, name and value refer to data within each object of the array.

Flurry rush attack

It's possible to use hitman for simple performance/stress testing an API. This is done by giving --flurry N on the command line, where N is the number of requests to send. In this mode, interactive prompts are currently not supported, so it can only be used when all substitutions are available in scope, have fallback values, or are given on the command line.

By default, it uses 10 parallel connections to execute N requests as quickly as possible. It's possible to specify the number of connections with the --connections option. For instance, --flurry 100 --connections 100 will try to send all 100 requests in parallel.

Watch mode

There is a --watch option that will keep hitman watching for file changes, and re-execute the same request every time a file is changed. The http request file itself, and the different config files are all watched for changes.

Currently, the 'data' file that is updated when hitman extracts variables from requests, is not watched, because it might create infinite loops.

Commit count: 135

cargo fmt