ServiceNow: SOAP Journal

Integration using Web Services

Zeep for SOAP Web Services from Python

Introducing Zeep

“Zeep” is Dutch for “soap”. Zeep is a fast and modern SOAP Web Services client for Python. Zeep fully supports Python 3.x (unlike SOAPpy, which appears to have fallen out of support).

Zeep uses the Requests module for its underlying transport. When you create a Client object using Zeep, it inspects the WSDL, and dynamically generates code to access the underlying service. When accessing ServiceNow SOAP Web Services from Python, we can simplify our code by creating a small class named ServiceNow to hold connection information. This class contains a method named client which returns a Zeep Client.

import requests
import zeep

class ServiceNow:

    def __init__(self, instance, username, password):
        self.instance = instance
        self.session = requests.Session()
        self.session.auth = requests.auth.HTTPBasicAuth(username, password)
        self.transport = zeep.transports.Transport(session=self.session)

    def client(self, tablename):
        wsdl_url = '' % (
            self.instance, tablename)
        return zeep.CachingClient(wsdl_url, transport=self.transport)

The function zeep.CachingClient causes Zeep to cache the WSDL locally for 60 minutes using Sqlite. If you don’t want to cache the WSDL, replace this function with zeep.Client.

Loading Data

We can now use this class construct ServiceNow SOAP clients. A separate client object is required for each ServiceNow table. The following example inserts a record into the incident table. To test this example in a personal dev instance, first create a user named soap.test and grant the user soap and itil roles.

sn = ServiceNow('dev00000', 'soap.test', 'password')
incident = sn.client('incident')
response = incident.service.insert(
    short_description = 'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet',
    caller_id = 'Fred Luddy',
    urgency = '1'
print('inserted number=%s sys_id=%s' % (response['number'], response['sys_id']))

If the keyword arguments are unmanageable, create a dictionary and use Python’s double-star operator to unpack the argument list.

rec = {
    'short_description': 'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet',
    'caller_id': 'Fred Luddy',
    'urgency': '1'
response = incident.service.insert(**rec)

Note that caller_id is a reference field. The ServiceNow API allows you to specify either a sys_id or a display value when updating reference fields.

If you have the Insert Multiple Web Service plugin installed, you can insert multiple rows from a Python client by first constructing a list of dicts. This is particularly useful if you are using a Web Service Import Set. The following snippet inserts two incident records.

recs = [
    {   'short_description': 'Consectetur adipiscing elit',
        'caller_id': 'Don Goodliffe' },
    {   'short_description': 'Curabitur sit amet tincidunt',
        'caller_id': 'Bow Ruggeri' },
response = incident.service.insertMultiple(recs)

Reading Data

The ServiceNow best practice recommendation for retrieving a large number of records with SOAP is to use the getKeys and getRecords methods to retrieve the data in chunks. Here is a Zeep illustration of using that technique to read the entire incident table, 200 rows at a time.

incident = sn.client('incident')
# get a list of all the keys
response = incident.service.getKeys()
# convert the comma separated list to a Python list
if int(response['count']) == 0:
    keys = []
    keys = response['sys_id'][0].split(',')
print('reading %d rows' % len(keys))
pagesize = 200
start = 0
while start < len(keys):
    # grab a slice of keys and construct an encoded query
    chunk = keys[start: start + pagesize]
    start += pagesize
    query = 'sys_idIN' + ','.join(chunk)
    rows = incident.service.getRecords(__encoded_query=query)
    for row in rows:
        print('%s %s' % (row['number'], row['short_description']))

The WSDL for the getKeys method states that the occurrence of the sys_id element in the response is maxOccurs="unbounded" minOccurs="0", i.e. an array. However, the actual response (as documented in the wiki) is not an array, but a single sys_id element containing a comma delimited list of sys_ids, or an empty sys_id element if there are no qualifying keys.  If there are zero keys, Zeep uses the WSDL to incorrectly construct a list with a single None element. The above code compensates for the WSDL inconsistency by checking the count of sys_id‘s before splitting the keys.

Scripted Web Services

The Zeep Python client also works well for custom scripted SOAP Web Services that have defined input and output parameters. When defining input and output parameters, ensure that each parameter has a unique order number. If the parameter order is ambiguous, Zeep will be unable to parse the response XML.


SNDML Debugging

This post contains instructions for obtaining runtime diagnostics from SNDML 2.6.5.

Create a Log4J configuration file

SNDML 2.6.5 is built using Log4J 1.2. Create a file named similar to the following:

# This file contains the Log4J configuration for the ServiceNow Datamart Loader
# The names of loggers in the "soap" package will be prefixed with "ServiceNow".
# The names of loggers in the "datamart" package will be prefixed with "Datamart".
# Most loggers for the "soap" package are NOT based on the class name.
# Instead, there are two loggers for each table, named as follows:
#   ServiceNow.Request.<tablename>
#   ServiceNow.Response.<tablename>
# Diagnostic information prior to the SOAP call will be written to the Request logger.
# Diagnostic information after the SOAP call will be written to the Response logger.
# Logger levels are as follows:
# ERROR - Serious error that will result in termination of the program
# WARN  - Truncation or recoverable data conversion errors
# INFO  - One line per SOAP or Database call
# DEBUG - Display XML sent and received
# TRACE - Field level diagnostics (extremely verbose)

log4j.rootLogger=INFO, Console

log4j.appender.Console.layout.ConversionPattern=%d{HH:mm:ss} [%t] %p %c %m%n


Note that you can set the logging at different levels for different tables.

For general information on Log4J configuration files refer to

Make the Log4J config file available in the class path

The Log4J configuration needs to be in the class path so that Log4J can load it as a resource. One way to do this is to place the file in the current directory and prepend the current directory (“.”) to the class path. You can specify the class path on the Java command line using the “-cp” option.

For Unix the use a colon for the path separator:

-cp .:sndml-2.6.5-mysql.jar

For Windows use a semicolon for the path separator:

-cp .;sndml-2.6.5-mysql.jar

Set log4j.configuration to the name of the config file

Use the “-D” option to set the system property log4j.configuration to the the name of the file.

Put it all together

You cannot use the “-jar” option with “-cp”. Instead you must specify the main class on the command line. The main class is servicenow.common.datamart.Loader.

The full Java command looks like this:

java -cp .:sndml-2.6.5-mysql.jar servicenow.common.datamart.Loader -p <propfile> -f <scriptfile>

Where <propfile> is the SNDML properties file and <scriptfile> is the SNDML script file.

SNDML version 2.6.5

I have dusted off and released on GitHub version 2.6.5 of the ServiceNow Datamart Loader.  It works with Geneva and Helsinki. Let me know if you use it. Let me know if you find any issues.  It’s free.


Yesterday we completed the upgrade of our ServiceNow Data Mart to SnowMirror version 3.0.3.  This is a great product and we have received excellent technical support from Pavel Müller.  We had been running version 2.7.13 for about a month and the upgrade to 3.0.3 was simple and painless.  We are currently replicating 80+ tables, the largest of which contain several million rows.  We run on a small AWS EC2 Linux server and the database is RDS MySQL.  If you are looking replicate ServiceNow data into a relational database, you should consider this product.