Python3 Telegram's client implementation with full access to its API
Telethon is Telegram client implementation in Python which uses the latest available API of Telegram. The project’s core only is based on TLSharp, a C# Telegram client implementation.
Table of contents
Why should I bother with Telethon? There are more mature projects already, such as telegram-cli with even (limited) Python support. And we have the official clients!
With Telethon you don’t really need to know anything before using it. Create a client with your settings. Connect. You’re ready to go.
Being written entirely on Python, Telethon can run as a script under any environment you wish, (yes, Android too). You can schedule it, or use it in any other script you have. Want to send a message to someone when you’re available? Write a script. Do you want check for new messages at a given time and find relevant ones? Write a script.
Hungry for more API calls which the TelegramClient class doesn’t seem to have implemented? Please read Using more than just TelegramClient.
In order to use Telethon, you first need to obtain your very own API ID and Hash:
- Follow this link and login with your phone number.
- Click under API Development tools.
- A Create new application window will appear. Fill in your application details. There is no need to enter any URL, and only the first two fields (App title and Short name) can be changed later as long as I’m aware.
- Click on Create application at the end.
Now that you know your API ID and Hash, you can continue installing Telethon.
On a terminal, issue the following command:
sudo -H pip install telethon
You’re ready to go.
If you’ve installed Telethon via pip, launch an interactive python3 session and enter the following:
>>> from telethon import InteractiveTelegramClient >>> # 'sessionid' can be 'yourname'. It'll be saved as yourname.session >>> # Also (obviously) replace the api_id and api_hash with your values ... >>> client = InteractiveTelegramClient('sessionid', '+34600000000', ... api_id=12345, api_hash='0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef') ┌─────────────────────────────────────────────┐ │ Initialization │ └─────────────────────────────────────────────┘ Initializing interactive example... Connecting to Telegram servers... >>> client.run()
If, on the other hand, you’ve installed Telethon manually, head to the api/ directory and create a copy of the settings_example file, naming it settings (lowercase!). Then fill the file with the corresponding values (your api_id, api_hash and phone number in international format).
Then, simply run python3 try_telethon.py to start the interactive example.
The TelegramClient class should be used to provide a quick, well-documented and simplified starting point. It is not meant to be a place for all the available Telegram Request’s, because there are simply too many.
However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot invoke all the power of Telegram’s API. Whenever you need to invoke a Telegram Request, all you need to do is the following:
result = client.invoke(SomeRequest(...))
You have just invoke’d SomeRequest and retrieved its result! That wasn’t hard at all, was it? Now you may wonder, what’s the deal with all the power of Telegram’s API? Have a look under tl/functions/. That is everything you can do. You have over 200 API Request’s at your disposal.
However, we don’t pretty know how that result looks like. Easy. print(str(result)) should give you a quick overview. Nevertheless, there may be more than a single result! Let’s have a look at this seemingly innocent TL definition:
messages.getWebPagePreview#25223e24 message:string = MessageMedia;
Focusing on the end, we can see that the result of invoking GetWebPagePreviewRequest is MessageMedia. But how can MessageMedia exactly look like? It’s time to have another look, but this time under tl/types/:
$ tree -P "message_media_*" . ├── tl │ └── types │ ├── message_media_contact.py │ ├── message_media_document.py │ ├── message_media_empty.py │ ├── message_media_geo.py │ ├── message_media_photo.py │ ├── message_media_unsupported.py │ ├── message_media_venue.py │ └── message_media_web_page.py
Those are eight different types! How do we know what exact type it is to determine its properties? A simple if type(result) == MessageMediaContact: or similar will do. Now you’re ready to take advantage of Telegram’s polymorphism.
First of all, you need to understand how the scheme.tl (TL language) works. Every object definition is written as follows:
name#id argument_name:argument_type = CommonType
This means that in a single line you know what the TLObject name is. You know it’s unique ID, and you know what arguments it has. It really isn’t that hard to write a generator for generating code to any platform!
The generated code should also be able to encode the Request into bytes, so they can be sent over the network. This isn’t a big deal either, because you know how the TLObject’s are made.
Once you have your own [code generator](telethon_generator/tl_generator.py), start by looking at the first release of Telethon. The code there is simple to understand, easy to read and hence easy to port. No extra useless features. Only the bare bones. Perfect for starting a new implementation.
P.S.: I may have lied a bit. The TL language is not that easy. But it’s not that hard either. You’re free to sniff the parser/ files and learn how to parse other more complex lines. Or simply use that code and change the SourceBuilder!
The code generator will skip the types considered as core types. These types are usually included in almost every programming language, such as boolean values or lists, and also the Telegram True flag, which is not sent but rather used to determine whether that flag should be enabled or not.
Have you found a more updated version of the scheme.tl file? Those are great news! Updating is as simple as grabbing the latest version and replacing the one you can find in this same directory by the updated one. Don’t forget to run python3 tl_generator.py.
If the changes weren’t too big, everything should still work the same way as it did before; but with extra features.
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