Behind every prominent app in today’s market, there is an enterprise system that fetches information from the Cloud or Servers with one or many REST APIs. Today, REST APIs are the medium to make an organization’s assets consumable and productive through third-party applications. With APIs, organizations are able to monetize their core assets by allowing the development of new services on top of the existing ones or streamlining the existing processes. GitHub REST API is one such solution that is playing a major role by acting as a catalyst that allows end-users to easily fetch, consume, or extract data from any repository on GitHub effectively.

In this article, you will learn what REST APIs are and how GitHub REST API is leveraged to load and extract data with API calls.

Using GitHub REST APIs

GitHub REST APIs allow users to communicate with GitHub and extract the desired information effectively by using an authenticated access token. With GitHub REST APIs, you can easily create and manage repositories, issues, branches, and more, with only a few lines of code. This eliminates the manual process of leveraging the user interface, especially when working with large projects. Learning how to use GitHub REST API involves understanding its endpoints and authentication methods.

GitHub REST API also allows users to authenticate with respect to the username to access repositories that are not publicly available. 

To generate a new token for authentication of GitHub REST APIs,

  • Step 1: Log in to the GitHub Account.
  • Step 2: Go to Settings >> Developer settings >> Personal access tokens.
  • Step 3: Then, click on generate a new token.
  • Step 4: Confirm the user password to continue.
  • Step 5: Add a description to the token.
  • Step 6: Under the select scopes option, check all the boxes.
  • Step 7: Finally, click on generate a new token.
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How to Load and Extract Data using GitHub REST APIs?

Here, you’ll use CURL (command-line tool and library) to load data into GitHub and extract data from GitHub using the GitHub REST API. However, you can use several third-party libraries that support the programming language you prefer.

You can use the Base URL to obtain all the accessible API links that can be changed along with the respective keywords to access specific information.

To start, just run the command in your command prompt/terminal:


You will be able to see a list of API URLs to perform different tasks.

GitHub REST API: API URLS | Hevo Data
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1) Loading the Data

Usually, when a user wants to load the data into GitHub, it is always needed to log in to the GitHub website and create a repository. By using the GitHub REST API, the process becomes much simpler, where a user can automate the entire process in a few lines of code.

Create a Repository using the GitHub API

$ curl -i -H "Authorization: token ghp_16C7e42F292c6912E7710c838347Ae178B4a" 
    -d '{ 
        "name": "blog", 
        "auto_init": true, 
        "private": true, 
        "gitignore_template": "nanoc" 

The above command creates a new repository. The new repository will be named “Blog” and will be set to private. 

2) Extracting the Data

Similarly, Data Extraction also becomes way more straightforward with GitHub REST APIs. The following commands allow users to create, manage, fetch, and control the public and private repositories on GitHub.

Get the User Profile

# GET /users/defunkt
$ curl

> {
>   "login": "defunkt",
>   "id": 2,
>   "node_id": "MDQ6VXNlcjI=",
>   "avatar_url": "",
>   "gravatar_id": "",
>   "url": "",
>   "html_url": "",
>   ...
> }

The above example shows the client request via HTTP and the output of the respective user profile data in JSON format. Unauthenticated clients can make 60 requests per hour. To get more requests per hour, authentication is a must. 

Get Repository Details of an Organization

$ curl -i

This command returns the repository details of an organization. In the above command, ‘orgs’ is the keyword for accessing the organization, ‘octo-org’ is the organization name, and ‘repos’ is the keyword for all the repositories the organization has.

List Repositories of Another User 

$ curl -i

This command returns all the repositories of a user. Here ‘octocat’ is the user name.

List Repositories of an Authenticated User 

$ curl -i -H "Authorization: token ghp_16C7e42F292c6912E7710c838347Ae178B4a"

To access the repository of an authenticated user, provide the token in the command. 

Get Issues under one Organization

$ curl -i -H "Authorization: token ghp_16C7e42F292c6912E7710c838347Ae178B4a"

This is how you leverage GitHub REST APIs to seamlessly import and export data.

You can find out about Github integrations here. 

Github REST API Example

The REST API samples provided here are executed on a Windows system. This section will demonstrate some of the GitHub Repository procedures.

1. To list Public Repositories for a user, run the following command in a single line.

curl -X GET -u <UserName>:<Generated-Token><user-name>/repos | grep -w clone_url

2. To list Public Repositories under an organization.

curl -X GET -u <UserName>:<Generated-Token><Org-Name>/repos | grep -w clone_url

3. Create a Personal Repository.

curl -X POST -u <UserName>:<Generated-Token> -d "{\"name\": \"Demo_Repo\"}"

The above command’s name is a parameter. Let’s look at some more options that may be utilized when building personal user repositories.

curl -X POST -u <UserName>:<Generated-Token> -d "{\"name\": \"Demo_Repo\",\"description\": \"This is first repo through API\",\"homepage\": \"\",\"public\": \"true\",\"has_issues\": \"true\",\"has_projects\":\"true\",\"has_wiki\": \"true\"}"

In the above command, name, description, homepage, public, has_projects, has_wiki are all parameters that take a string value and are enclosed in \”. Also note that there is a SPACE between : and \

For Example, public parameter makes the repo public. The command also enables issues, projects, wikis to be created.

4. Rename the Repository.

curl -X POST -u <UserName>:<Generated-Token> -X PATCH -d "{\"name\":\"<NewRepoName>\"}"<user-name>/<OldRepoName>

5. Update the has_wiki parameter in the repository and set the value to false.

curl -u <UserName>:<Generated-Token>-X PATCH -d "{\"has_wiki\":\"false\"}"<reponame>

6. Delete the Repository.

curl -X DELETE -u <UserName>:<Generated-Token><user-name>/<reponame>

What is the Need for GitHub REST API Integration?

Most organizations are now automating their workflows and REST APIs are one of the widely used interfaces that allow developers to manage applications and services. GitHub REST API Integration allows Developers to automate their development workflow by creating and managing repositories, branches, issues, requests, etc.

Also, you can connect your GitHub account with other applications, platforms, or services using GitHub REST APIs.

Additional Reads:


In a rapidly changing world, with REST APIs, developers are creating applications that are robust in nature. The objective of REST API is to couple services that follow specific web standards that are development-friendly, and flexible enough to use for any external applications. Since GitHub REST APIs satisfy these objectives, developers can increase productivity and develop web services to automate interaction with GitHub.

In case you want to export data from a source of your choices such as GitHub and REST APIs into your desired Database/destination then Hevo Data is the right choice for you! 

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Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Ishwarya has experience working with B2B SaaS companies in the data industry and her passion for data science drives her to product informative content to aid individuals in comprehending the intricacies of data integration and analysis.

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