New in version 0.6.0.

Services are used by Sphinx-Needs to get information from external services and create need objects based on this information. For example this could be issues from GitHub, requirements from Doors, tickets from Jira, rows from Excel, or whatever.

Up to now Sphinx-Needs provides the following services:

Use the directive needservice to execute a service and get need objects back.

.. needservice:: <service_name>
   :<service_option>: ...
   :own_options: ...

Each service may have own options, which are used to configure the service itself. Please take a look into the related service documentation for information about them.

You can always set all options, which are also available for all need objects. So the ones defined by needs_extra_options and needs_extra_links. These options will then be set for all needs created by the requested service.

Most services also support adding additional content to the created needs. Simply use the content part of .. needservice:: and the content gets added and rendered for all needs created by the service.

.. needservice:: <service_name>
   :tags: awesome, nice, cool
   :status: open
   :author: me

   My **custom** content.



Stores all service related configuration options in a dictionary.

needs_services = {
    'service_name': {
        "option_1": "value",
        # ...

Normally all services have a working default configuration and no extra configuration is needed for basic tasks. However, if a service needs specific options or custom tasks are needed (e.g. communicate with a specific company server), special configuration may be needed and the service may throw an error or warning, if something is missing.

For available configuration options please take a look into the related service documentation.


If a service returns data for an option, which was not registered by the service itself or the user via needs_extra_options, this information is added to the content part.

Set needs_service_all_data to False to hide this kind of information.

Multiple service instances

Sometimes it makes sense to have multiple service instances, which provide the same functionality but need a different configuration, e.g. issues should be reported from GitHub cloud repositories and repositories from the company internal GitHub Enterprise instance.

All you need to do is to set the Python service class, which must be mentioned under the key class in needs_services of your file.

from import NeededService

needs_services = {
    'my-company-service': {
        'class': NeededService,
        'class_init': {
            # ...
        # ...

Some services may need special configuration options to be initialised, these configs must be provided inside class_init.

For a complex example please of the GitHub service please take a look into its chapter Custom service.

Own services

A custom service can be created by providing your own service-class, which must inherit from the BaseService class and provide a function called request.

The request function must return a list of dictionary objects, where each dictionary contains values for a need, which shall be created.

Example of a basic service:

from import BaseService

class MyService(BaseService):

    def __init__(self, app, name, config, **kwargs):
        # Get a config value from service related part
        # of needs_services inside
        self.my_config = config.get('my_config', 'DEFAULT')

        # Custom init config, which is provided only once
        # during class initialisation
        custom_init =  kwargs.get('custom_init', False)

        super(GithubService, self).__init__()

    def request(self, options):
        # Get an option provided by the user in the directive call
        status = options.get('status', 'Unknown')

        data = [
                'title': 'My Issue 1',
                'status': status,
                'my_config': self.my_config
                'title': 'My Issue 2',
                'type': 'spec'

        return data

    def debug(self, options):
        # Allows to send back data, which may be helpful for debugging.
        # debug_data needs do be serializable via json.dump.()
        debug_data = {'custom_debug': 'data'}
        return debug_data

Configuration inside

from somewhere.my_services import MyService

needs_services = {
    'my-service': {
        'class': MyService,
        'class_init': {
            'custom_init': True,
        'my_config': 'Awesome',

Using inside rst files:

.. needservice:: my-service
   :status: open

.. needservice:: my-service

This would create 2 need objects with titles My Issue 1 and My Issue 2.

To get the debug output of the service, use the debug flag:

.. needservice:: my-service

Sphinx-Needs uses the extension Sphinx-Data-Viewer to represent the debug data in a nice and structured way.