Tony Wolski

The things you discover... httpie and jq


Sometimes working with technology you feel so far behind the eight ball. Like, how do you not know about some of the awesome tools out there that could have made your life so much easier before now. This week I was introduced to two such tools, httpie and jq. I just know that the combination of these two command line apps are going to come in real handy.


From the homepage:

httpie is a command line HTTP client. Its goal is to make CLI interaction with web services as human-friendly as possible. It provides a simple http command that allows for sending arbitrary HTTP requests using a simple and natural syntax, and displays colorized output. HTTPie can be used for testing, debugging, and generally interacting with HTTP servers.

I’m currently evaluating Vault by Hashicorp, working my way through the getting started guide. I wanted to test out the http api instead of using the command line client. The examples show you can execute a curl command like this to write a secret to vault:

$ curl \
    -H "X-Vault-Token: f3b09679-3001-009d-2b80-9c306ab81aa6" \
    -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
    -X POST \
    -d '{"value":"bar"}' \

With http installed that turns into…

$ http --json POST \
    X-Vault-Token:6bf59568-6530-588b-3928-1918f7dc781a \

So much easier! No more curl for me. There’s a great httpie cheatsheet for quick reference, as I found it difficult making switch and not having to enter options for headers and the like.


From the homepage:

jq is a lightweight and flexible command-line JSON processor.

Continuing with the same getting started guide, let’s use httpie to pull out the secret we just wrote:

$ http GET \
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 110
Content-Type: application/json
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 21:33:06 GMT

    "auth": null,
    "data": {
        "value": "bar"
    "lease_duration": 2592000,
    "lease_id": "",
    "renewable": false,
    "warnings": null

So what can we do with jq? Well, what if we just want to read the value of the secret we just stored? jq makes that really easy:

$ vault read -format=json secret/baz | jq -r .data.value

Awesome! jq is a tool I think I’m going to be using a lot, especially in conjunction with httpie. Just check out what’s possible on the tutorial page.

Your thoughts? I'd love to hear them. Please get in contact.