API Changes in ArangoDB 3.9

This document summarizes the HTTP API changes and other API changes in ArangoDB 3.9. The target audience for this document are developers who maintain drivers and integrations for ArangoDB 3.9.


Graph API (Gharial)

The following changes affect the behavior of the RESTful graph APIs at endpoints starting with path /_api/gharial/:

The options object now supports a new optional field satellites in the Enterprise Edition when creating a graph (POST method). If set, it needs to be an array of collection names. Each name must be a string and valid as collection name. The satellites option is ignored in the Community Edition.

Using satellites during SmartGraph creation will result in a Hybrid SmartGraph. Using satellites during Disjoint SmartGraph creation will result in a Hybrid Disjoint SmartGraph.

Hybrid (Disjoint) SmartGraphs are capable of having SatelliteCollections in their graph definitions. If a collection is named in satellites and also used in the graph definition itself (e.g. EdgeDefinition), this collection will be created as a SatelliteCollection. Hybrid (Disjoint) SmartGraphs are then capable of executing all types of graph queries between the regular SmartCollections and SatelliteCollections.

The following changes affect the behavior of the RESTful graph APIs at endpoints starting with path /_api/gharial/{graph}/edge and /_api/gharial/{graph}/vertex:

Added new optional options object that can be set when creating a new or modifying an existing edge definition (POST / PUT method), as well as when creating a new vertex collection (POST method). This was not available in previous ArangoDB versions. The options object can currently contain a field called satellites only.

The satellites field must be an array with one or more collection name strings. If an EdgeDefinition contains a collection name that is also contained in the satellites option, or if the vertex collection to add is contained in the satellites option, the collection will be created as a SatelliteCollection. Otherwise, it will be ignored. This option only takes effect using SmartGraphs.

Also see Graph Management.

Extended naming convention for databases

There is a new startup option --database.extended-names-databases to allow database names to contain most UTF-8 characters.

The feature is disabled by default to ensure compatibility with existing client drivers and applications that only support ASCII names according to the traditional database naming convention used in previous ArangoDB versions.

If the feature is enabled, then any endpoints that contain database names in the URL may contain special characters that were previously not allowed (percent-encoded). They are also to be expected in payloads that contain database names.

For client applications and drivers that assemble URLs containing database names, it is required that database names are properly URL-encoded in URLs. In addition, database names containing UTF-8 characters must be NFC-normalized. Non-NFC-normalized names will be rejected by arangod. This is true for any REST API endpoint in arangod if the extended database naming convention is used.

The extended naming convention is an experimental feature in ArangoDB 3.9, but will become the norm in a future version. Drivers and client applications should be prepared for this feature.

Also see Database Naming Conventions.

Overload control

Starting with version 3.9.0, ArangoDB returns an x-arango-queue-time-seconds HTTP header with all responses. This header contains the most recent request queueing/dequeuing time (in seconds) as tracked by the server’s scheduler. This value can be used by client applications and drivers to detect server overload and react on it.

The arangod startup option --http.return-queue-time-header can be set to false to suppress these headers in responses sent by arangod.

In a cluster, the value returned in the x-arango-queue-time-seconds header is the most recent queueing/dequeuing request time of the Coordinator the request was sent to, except if the request is forwarded by the Coordinator to another Coordinator. In that case, the value will indicate the current queueing/dequeuing time of the forwarded-to Coordinator.

In addition, client applications and drivers can optionally augment the requests they send to arangod with the header x-arango-queue-time-seconds. If set, the value of the header should contain the maximum server-side queuing time (in seconds) that the client application is willing to accept. If the header is set in an incoming request, arangod will compare the current dequeuing time from its scheduler with the maximum queue time value contained in the request header. If the current queueing time exceeds the value set in the header, arangod will reject the request and return HTTP 412 (precondition failed) with the error code 21004 (queue time violated). In a cluster, the x-arango-queue-time-seconds request header will be checked on the receiving Coordinator, before any request forwarding.

Endpoint return value changes

All collections in ArangoDB are now always in the “loaded” state. APIs return return a collection’s status will now return it as “loaded”, unconditionally.

The HTTP endpoints for loading and unloading collections (i.e. HTTP PUT /_api/collection/<collection>/load and HTTP PUT /_api/collection/<collection>/unload) have been turned into no-ops. They still exist in ArangoDB 3.9, but do not serve any purpose and are deprecated.

Endpoints added

Support Info API

The HTTP REST API endpoint GET /_admin/support-info was added for retrieving deployment information for support purposes. The endpoint returns data about the ArangoDB version used, the host (operating system, server ID, CPU and storage capacity, current utilization, a few metrics) and the other servers in the deployment (in case of active failover or cluster deployments).

As this API may reveal sensitive data about the deployment, it can only be accessed from inside the _system database. In addition, there is a policy control startup option --server.support-info-api that controls if and to whom the API is made available. This option can have the following values:

  • disabled: support info API is disabled.
  • jwt: support info API can only be accessed via superuser JWTs.
  • admin (default): the support info API can only be accessed by admin users and superuser JWTs.
  • public: everyone with access to the _system database can access the support info API.

License Management (Enterprise Edition)

Two endpoints were added for the new License Management. They can be called on single servers, Coordinators and DB-Servers:

  • GET /_admin/license: Query license information and status.

      "features": {
        "expires": 1640255734
      "license": "JD4EOk5fcx...HgdnWw==",
      "version": 1,
      "status": "good"
    • features:
      • expires: Unix timestamp (seconds since January 1st, 1970 UTC)
    • license: Encrypted and base64-encoded license key
    • version: License version number
    • status:
      • good: The license is valid for more than 2 weeks.
      • expiring: The license is valid for less than 2 weeks.
      • expired: The license has expired. In this situation, no new Enterprise Edition features can be utilized.
      • read-only: The license is expired over 2 weeks. The instance is now restricted to read-only mode.
  • PUT /_admin/license: Set a new license key. Expects the key as string in the request body (wrapped in double quotes).

    Server reply on success:

      "result": {
        "error": false,
        "code": 201

    If the new license expires sooner than the current one, an error will be returned. The query parameter ?force=true can be set to update it anyway.

      "code": 400,
      "error": true,
      "errorMessage": "This license expires sooner than the existing. You may override this by specifying force=true with invocation.",
      "errorNum": 9007

Endpoints augmented

The HTTP REST API endpoint POST /_api/cursor can now handle an additional sub-attribute fillBlockCache for its options attribute. fillBlockCache controls whether the to-be-executed query should populate the RocksDB block cache with the data read by the query. This is an optional attribute, and its default value is true, meaning that the block cache will be populated. This functionality was also backported to v3.8.1.

The HTTP REST API endpoint POST /_api/cursor can also handle the sub-attribute maxNodesPerCallstack, which controls after how many execution nodes in a query a stack split should be performed. This is only relevant for very large queries. If this option is not specified, the default value is 200 on MacOS, and 250 for other platforms. Please note that this option is only useful for testing and debugging and normally does not need any adjustment.

The HTTP REST API endpoint PUT /_admin/log/level can now handle the pseudo log topic "all". Setting the log level for the “all” log topic will adjust the log level for all existing log topics. For example, sending the JSON object to this API


will set all log topics to log level “debug”.

The HTTP REST API endpoint POST /_open/auth now returns JWTs with a shorter lifetime of one hour by default. You can adjust the lifetime with the --server.session-timeout startup option.

Endpoints moved

Cluster API redirects

Since ArangoDB 3.7, some cluster APIs were made available under different paths. The old paths were left in place and simply redirected to the new address. These redirects have now been removed in ArangoDB 3.9.

The following list shows the old, now dysfunctional paths and their replacements:

  • /_admin/clusterNodeVersion: replaced by /_admin/cluster/nodeVersion
  • /_admin/clusterNodeEngine: replaced by /_admin/cluster/nodeEngine
  • /_admin/clusterNodeStats: replaced by /_admin/cluster/nodeStatistics
  • /_admin/clusterStatistics: replaced by /_admin/cluster/statistics

Using the replacements will work from ArangoDB 3.7 onwards already, so any client applications that still call the old addresses can be adjusted to call the new addresses from 3.7 onwards.

Endpoints deprecated

The REST API endpoint GET /_api/replication/logger-follow is deprecated since ArangoDB 3.4.0 and will be removed in a future version. Client applications should use the endpoint /_api/wal/tail instead, which is available since ArangoDB 3.3. This is a reminder to migrate to the other endpoint.

Endpoints removed


The following API redirect endpoints have been removed in ArangoDB 3.9. These endpoints have been only been redirections since ArangoDB 3.7. Any caller of these API endpoints should use the updated endpoints:

  • /_admin/clusterNodeVersion: use /_admin/cluster/nodeVersion
  • /_admin/clusterNodeEngine: use /_admin/cluster/nodeEngine
  • /_admin/clusterNodeStats: use /_admin/cluster/nodeStatistics
  • /_admin/clusterStatistics: use /_admin/cluster/statistics

The REST API endpoint /_msg/please-upgrade-handler has been removed in ArangoDB 3.9 as it is no longer needed. Its purpose was to display a static message.

Export API

The REST API endpoint /_api/export has been removed in ArangoDB 3.9. This endpoint was previously only present in single server, but never supported in cluster deployments.

The purpose of the endpoint was to provide the full data of a collection without holding collection locks for a long time, which was useful for the MMFile storage engine with its collection-level locks.

The MMFiles engine is gone since ArangoDB 3.7, and the only remaining storage engine since then is RocksDB. For the RocksDB engine, the /_api/export endpoint internally used a streaming AQL query such as

FOR doc IN @@collection RETURN doc

anyway. To remove API redundancy, the API endpoint has been deprecated in ArangoDB 3.8 and is now removed. If the functionality is still required by client applications, running a streaming AQL query can be used as a substitution.

JavaScript API

All collections in ArangoDB are now always in the “loaded” state. Any JavaScript functions for returning a collection’s status will now return “loaded”, unconditionally.

The JavaScript functions for loading and unloading collections (i.e. db.<collection>.load() and db.<collection>.unload()) have been turned into no-ops. They still exist in ArangoDB 3.9, but do not serve any purpose and are deprecated.