Tools to interface with an IBM Visual Inspection server's ReST API.

cli, maximo, mvi, paiv, vision, visual-insights, visual-inspection
pip install Vision-Tools==0.2.0



Maximo Visual Inspection API Tools

Maximo Visual Inspection (MVI) makes computer vision with deep learning more accessible to business users. MVI includes an intuitive toolset that empowers subject matter experts to label, train, and deploy deep learning vision models, without coding or deep learning expertise. This repo provides a developer client API and command line (CLI) for an existing installation. To learn more about Maximo Visual Inspection, check out the IBM Marketplace

The MVI API tools consists of two parts; a Python library piece and a command line (CLI) piece. The CLI piece uses the library piece to communicate with an MVI server. The CLI is meant to make it easier to do automation via shell scripts while the library is meant to make it easier to do automation scripting in Python.

The goal is that the tools will support all of the endpoints and options available from the Maximo Visual Inspection ReST API. However, not everything is supported at this time.


Setting up Access to the Tools

A PIP install image is available via pip install Vision-Tools.

The following steps in this section can be used to setup and use the MVI Tools from a git repo (these steps assume that the cloned repo is in your home directory ("$HOME")). The sections following this "Setting up Access to the Tools" section are common to both installation methods.

  1. Ensure Python is at version 3.6 or above (e.g. python3 -V). If it is not, upgrade python using your favorite install manager (pip, conda, etc.)
  2. Ensure that the Python requests package is installed.
  3. Clone this repo.
  4. Add the cloned repo's cli directory to your PATH environment variable.
  5. Add the cloned repos's lib directory to your PYTHONPATH environment variable.

Example commands...

cd $HOME
pip install requests
git clone
export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:$HOME/vision-tools/lib

At this point, the MVI CLI tools should be accessible. Run vision --help to see that the command can be found. vision datasets --help can be run to ensure that sub-commands are accessible.

Using the CLI Tool


All of the CLI operations are driven by a single command -- vision. This command takes an "resource" (or "object") on which to operate. Currently supported resources are:

  • datasets
  • categories -- classification categories within a dataset
  • files -- dataset files (images and/or videos)
  • fkeys -- file user metadata key names
  • fmetadata -- file user metadata objects
  • object-tags -- object detection tag names (some times called classes)
  • object-labels -- object detection annotation
  • action-tags -- action detection tag names
  • action-labels -- action detection annotation
  • dltasks -- model training tasks
  • trained-models
  • deployed-models
  • projects -- project groups used to group related datasets and models

Each of these resources have operations that can be performed on them for creating, listing, showing details, deleting, etc. Each resource will respond with the list of operations it supports when given the --help flag (e.g. vision datasets --help). To get detailed help about an operation for an entity use --help with the operation (e.g. vision datasets list --help).

Note that flags, resources, and operations can be abbreviated to the point of uniqueness. Using abbreviations is NOT recommended in scripts, but can be useful on the command line to reduce typing.

The Basics

The vision tool has the following usage:

Usage:  vision [--httpdetail] [--jsonoutput] [--host=<host> | --uri=<serverUri>] [--token=<token>] [--log=<level>] [-?] <resource> [<args>...]

   --httpdetail   Causes HTTP message details to be printed to STDERR
                  This information can be useful for debugging purposes or
                  to get the syntax for use with CURL.
   --jsonoutput   Intended to ease use by scripts, all output to STDOUT is in
                  JSON format. By default output to STDOUT is more human
   --host         Identifies the targeted MVI server. If not
                  specified here, the VAPI_HOST environment variable is used.
                  This parameter has been deprecated. It is maintained for 
                  backward compatibility, but will be removed in a future 
                  release of the tools. 
   --uri          Identifies the base URI for the MVI server -- including the
                  '/api' "directory". If not specified, VAPI_BASE_URI
                  environment variable will be used.
   --token        The API Key token. If not specified here, the
                  VAPI_TOKEN environment variable is used.
   --log          Requests logging at the indicated level. Supported levels are
                  'error', 'warn', 'info', and 'debug'
   -?  displays this help message.

   <resource> is required and must be one of:
      categories     -- work with categories within a dataset
      datasets       -- work with datasets
      files          -- work with dataset files (images and/or videos)
      fkeys          -- work with user file metadata keys
      fmetadata      -- work with user file metadata key/value pairs
      object-tags    -- work with object detection tags 
      object-labels  -- work with object detection labels (aka annotations)
      dltasks        -- work with DL training tasks
      trained-models -- work with trained models
      deployed-models -- work with deployed models
      projects       -- work with projects
      users          -- work with users

'vision' provides access to Maximo Visual Inspection resources via the ReST API.
Use 'vision <resource> --help' for more information about operating on a given resource

Two pieces of information are required -- the base URI of the server (--uri) and the user's API Key (--token). It is often easier to specify this information via environment variables. The $VAPI_BASE_URI variable is used for the server URI and the $VAPI_TOKEN variable is used for the API Key.

If a different port is needed, that port should be included with base URI.

Quick Start Summary

Using a Standalone Server with "visual-insights" URI

Assume that the target server is a Maximo Application Suite environment with MVI available at Assume that the user has already created an API key via the MVI UI and the value is API-KEY-FROM-UI.

Perform the following steps for the easiest use:

  1. set VAPI_BASE_URI
  2. set VAPI_TOKEN
  3. ensure token is set

Example commands...

export VAPI_BASE_URI=""

vision should now report results from the server; try vision datasets list --summary. If something failed, see the "debugging" section below.

International Language Support

With version 8.2.0 of Maximo Visual Inspection (GA'ed in January 2021), the API can generate error messages in different languages. To get API messages in a language other than English, export the VAPI_LANGUAGE environment variable with the desired language. The contents of the VAPI_LANGUAGE environment variable are placed in the HTTP Accept-Language header and only processed by the HTTP service on the server. So, any valid syntax for Accept-Language can be set.

For example, to get API messages in French do:


At this time, messages generated by the vision tools themselves (e.g. usage messages) are not translated at this time.

Compatibility with Previous Versions of Maximo Visual Inspection


With version 8.0.0 of Maximo Visual Inspection, more complex URL's maybe required. This situation has pushed Vision Tools CLI to require a server base URI be provided as described above. To maintain backward compatibility with existing scripts, the old style use of VAPI_HOST and VAPI_INSTANCE are still supported to construct the base URI in the toolkit. However, this approach is deprecated and will be removed in a future release of the toolkit.

User Tokens vs API Keys

With version 8.0.0 of Maximo Visual Inspection, authentication is using an OIDC login flow to the common Maximo Application Suite Identity Provider. This flow currently requires browser interaction and does not support an API method of authentication. This situation means that an access token cannot be acquired like it used to be with the toolkit (e.g. vision users token --user XXXX --pass 1234).

To ease programmatic access to the ReST API, Maximo Visual Inspection has implemented an API key mechanism. This mechanism must be performed via the UI. The generated key can be copied from the UI and pasted into the setting of the VAPI_TOKEN environment variable or passed via the --token parameter on the command line. To minimize the impact of this change on existing scripts, the same flag and environment variable are being kept. Plus the new API key will not expire (though it can be revoked via the UI), so scripts will not have to re-authenticate daily.


Two flags exist to assist with debugging. The --httpdetail flag and the --log flag.

The --httpdetail flag causes information from the requests package to be printed to STDERR. This information includes the entire HTTP request that was sent to the server. The request information includes all of the Headers that were sent. It can be quite useful to examine this request information to ensure that information is accurate (e.g. host name, URL, input parameters, etc). Be forewarned that if used when uploading a file (or importing a dataset or model), the detail will include all of the encoded file contents. So it can be quite large in these cases.

The --log flag is fairly obvious. It uses the same logging levels as those provided by the Python logging module. The only oddity with this flag is that the command must get through parsing of the command line before the specified logging level will take effect. In most cases, that will not be a problem


In addition to the required external Python Packages, this toolset embeds the following:


This module is cloned from It is a command argument parser that takes a usage statement as the parsing definition. It is embedded to ease install of the toolset and to cleanup some error messages to be more user friendly.

bats -- Bash Automated Testing System

BATS is used to drive the automated testing to the CLI. It is included in the test directory as a zip file containing the 3 repos...