Prefill Client Example

This page demonstrates multiple prefill with an example client application.

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This is an example client appliation which demonstrate how an organisation can use the Altinn API to instantiate applications with prefill data on a multiple set of persons (or organisations).

To achieve this the Altinn API supports an HTTP technique called multipart request. This allow us to send and process an HTTP request with several content parts in one operation.

This example application gives you an idea on how to work with multipart prefill instantiation of applications.

Example walkthrough

First we will walk you through a scenario of running the application from start to end.

  1. To begin with we have created and placed the XML files containing the data to be prefilled on each person in a folder on our computer: Folder before prefill We have named each XML file with a person number. The XML content is the prefill data we wish to instantiate the applications with for each person.
    For the example purpose these files contain just a few XML lines. In a real world situation this could be large files containing schema data for a given set of persons or organisations.
    Here is the content from one of the XML files (01036800298.xml):
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
        <testperson>Test person 1</testperson>

    We will later showcase this XML content from an URL in browser window, after it has been saved to the storage of the application instance.

  2. Then we start the application from a command-line interface with a set of parameters:
    dotnet run PrefillClient -url=https://platform.at21.altinn.cloud/storage/api/v1/instances -folder=C:\test\input -appid=tdd/dog
  3. After the application have run, the same folder now contain the additional files:
Folder after prefill

Folder after prefill

Our example application creates JSON files containing the application instance information on successful instantiations. If any failure, an error file is created per person.

Therefore we see three persons have had an application successfully instantiated with prefill data, and lastly one application instantiation for a person failed.

The next code block show the content of a newly created JSON file (01036800298.json):

  "id": "50006341/3a0c71c2-4448-4620-bd04-c742b6e41074",
  "instanceOwnerId": "50006341",
  "selfLinks": {
    "platform": "http://platform.at21.altinn.cloud/storage/api/v1/instances/50006341/3a0c71c2-4448-4620-bd04-c742b6e41074"
  "appId": "tdd/dog",
  "org": "tdd",
  "createdDateTime": "2019-09-03T11:52:49.9684927Z",
  "lastChangedDateTime": "2019-09-03T11:52:49.9684927Z",
  "process": {
    "currentTask": "FormFilling_1",
    "isComplete": false
  "instanceState": {
    "isDeleted": false,
    "isMarkedForHardDelete": false,
    "isArchived": false
  "data": [
      "id": "269909ea-3d1b-4a6b-85c5-021e5d63eef9",
      "elementType": "default",
      "contentType": "application/xml",
      "storageUrl": "tdd/dog/3a0c71c2-4448-4620-bd04-c742b6e41074/data/269909ea-3d1b-4a6b-85c5-021e5d63eef9",
      "dataLinks": {
        "platform": "http://platform.at21.altinn.cloud/storage/api/v1/instances/50006341/3a0c71c2-4448-4620-bd04-c742b6e41074/data/269909ea-3d1b-4a6b-85c5-021e5d63eef9"
      "fileSize": 112,
      "isLocked": false,
      "createdDateTime": "2019-09-03T11:52:49.9684927Z",
      "lastChangedDateTime": "2019-09-03T11:52:49.9684927Z"

If we follow the URL given under the dataLinks property from the JSON file, we see the content of the XML file saved as a data element to the application instance:


The XML uploaded and viewed in browser

Lastly to be examined from the folder, is the error file on the failed instantiation (error-01036800236.txt) from our example:

Status code '400', error message: "Instance owner lookup failed."

Behind the scenes

Now we will take a short look of what happens behind the scenes when running the example application.

Our example client application iterates over the XML files in the folder, creates an instance template containing an instanceOwnerLookup.PersonNumber value to find, and then generate the multipart content with the following blocks of C# code.

XML file iteration and instanceOwnerLookup creation:

foreach (string xmlFilePath in xmlFilePaths)
    var xmlFileName = xmlFilePath.Split("\\").Last();

    // The person number is the XML filename
    var personNumber = xmlFileName.Split(".").First();

    Instance instanceTemplate = new Instance()
        InstanceOwnerLookup = new InstanceOwnerLookup()
            PersonNumber = personNumber,

Multipart content creation:

MultipartFormDataContent content = new MultipartContentBuilder(instanceTemplate)
    .AddDataElement("default", new FileStream(xmlFilePath, FileMode.Open), "application/xml")

We have made a helper class, MultipartContentBuilder, to easily add new data elements to the multipart in case several attachements are to be used for prefill.

In our example we have used an element type default and content type application/xml. These two must be declared in the application metadata in order to store the files. The same goes for instance and application/json to create the instance template, which is added within the constructor of the MultipartContentBuilder class:

public class MultipartContentBuilder
    private MultipartFormDataContent builder;

    public MultipartContentBuilder(Instance instanceTemplate)
        builder = new MultipartFormDataContent();
        if (instanceTemplate != null)
            StringContent instanceContent = new StringContent(JsonConvert.SerializeObject(instanceTemplate), Encoding.UTF8, "application/json");

            builder.Add(instanceContent, "instance");

The C# code then generates the following multipart information to be sent with the request to the Altinn API:

Content-Type: multipart/form-data; boundary="abcdefg"

Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
Content-Disposition: form-data; name="instance"

  "instanceOwnerLookup":  { "personNumber": "01036800298" }
Content-Type: application/xml
Content-Disposition: form-data; name="default"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <testperson>Test person 1</testperson>

Here we see two C# codelines to post the multipart content to the Altinn API and retrieve the response, then store it temporarily as string result:

HttpResponseMessage response = client.PostAsync(requestUri, content).Result;
string result = response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync().Result;

At last we include the deserialization of the result to an Instance object with Json. NET functionality.

Instance instanceResult = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<Instance>(result);