Basic concepts

This page describes basic concepts and definition that you need to know to interact with the pretalx REST API, such as authentication, pagination and similar definitions.

Obtaining an API token

To authenticate your API requests, you need an API token. You can view your API token in the organiser frontend at /orga/me, or you can direct a POST request containing your username and password to /api/auth – this endpoint will respond with {"token": "abcd…"}.


You need to include the API token with every request to the API in the Authorization header like the following:

GET /api/v1/organisers/ HTTP/1.1
Authorization: Token e1l6gq2ye72thbwkacj7jbri7a7tvxe614ojv8ybureain92ocub46t5gab5966k

You can use the /api/me endpoint afterwards to see who you are logged in as. It returns an object with your name, email, locale and timezone.


The API also supports authentication via browser sessions, the same way that you authenticate with pretalx when using the browser interface. Using this authentication is not officially supported for use by third-party clients and we may change or remove it at any time. If you want to use session authentication, be sure to follow Django’s CSRF policies.


The API is under heavy development – please don’t rely on its format to remain the same. We will document changes in our Release Notes as always.

We may always add fields or endpoints, or support new methods or query parameters on existing endpoints without further notice, so please make sure your client can deal with this.

We will give prior notice in our Release Notes before removing endpoints, API methods, fields, or before changing response fields, or requiring new input fields or types.


The API will paginate most lists of objects. The response will take the form of:

    "count": 117,
    "next": "",
    "previous": null,
    "results": []

As you can see, the response contains the total number of results in the field count. The fields next and previous contain links to the next and previous page of results, respectively, or null if there is no such page. You can use those URLs to retrieve the respective page.

The field results contains a list of objects representing the first results. For most objects, every page contains 25 results.


The API returns error responses (of type 400-499) in one of the following forms, depending on the error. General errors look like:

HTTP/1.1 405 Method Not Allowed
Content-Type: application/json
Content-Length: 42

{"detail": "Method 'DELETE' not allowed."}

Field specific input errors include the name of the offending fields as keys in the response:

HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
Content-Type: application/json
Content-Length: 94

{"amount": ["Please submit a valid integer."], "description": ["This field may not be blank."]}

Data types

The API returns all structured responses in JSON format using standard JSON data types such as integers, floating point numbers, strings, lists, objects and booleans. Most fields can be null as well.

The following table shows some data types that have no native JSON representation and how we serialise them to JSON.

Internal type

JSON representation



String in ISO 8601 format with time zone (often UTC)

"2017-12-27T10:00:00Z" "2017-12-27T10:00:00.596934Z", "2017-12-27T10:00:00+02:00"


String in ISO 8601 format


multi-lingual string

Object of strings

{"en": "red", "de": "rot"}

Query parameters

Most list endpoints allow a filtering of the results using query parameters. In this case, you should pass booleans as the string values true and false.

Most list endpoints support searching select fields of the resources. This search will be case insensitive unless noted otherwise, and you can access it via the ?q= query parameter.

If you see the o parameter on a resource, you can use it to sort the result set by one of the allowed fields. Prepend a - to the field name to reverse the sort order.