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 to 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.


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