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Python and command-line interface for Microsoft LiveConnect OneDrive REST API v5.0

Project description


Compatibility note: if, requirements.txt and/or package depends on “skydrive.api_v5” module from python-skydrive (pre-rename, now it’s “onedrive.api_v5”), “python-onedrive==14.04.0” package (with old API) can be used in its place - i.e. just replace any “python-skydrive” pkg-spec with that.

Python and command-line interface for OneDrive REST API (version 5.0) (formerly known as SkyDrive).

This module allows to access data on Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage from python code, abstracting authentication, http requests and response processing to a simple python methods.

Module also comes with command-line tool to conveniently browse and manipulate OneDrive contents from interactive shell or scripts.

Thanks to AntonioChen for implementing windows and unicode support (see #3).

Service was called SkyDrive prior to 2014-02-19, when it got renamed to OneDrive. This package similarly renamed from python-skydrive to python-onedrive.

Be sure to read “Known Issues and Limitations” section below before use, to avoid any potentially nasty surprises.

Command-line usage

OneDrive API requires to register an application in DevCenter, providing you with client_id and client_secret strings, used for authentication.

I can’t provide some static ones because according to LiveConnect ToS “You are solely and entirely responsible for all uses of Live Connect occurring under your Client ID” (also see notes below), and I can’t just vouch for every module/tool user like that.

App registration in DevCenter is really straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a few clicks. Be sure to check the “mobile client app” box under “API settings”.

After that, create “~/.lcrc” file (YAML) with the contents like these:

  id: 00000000620A3E4A
  secret: gndrjIOLWYLkOPl0QhWIliQcg-MG1SRN

(use “id” and “secret” acquired in the app registration step above, indent these lines with spaces - indenting with tabs is not allowed in YAML)

Then you need to perform OAuth 2.0 authorization dance by running the onedrive-cli auth command and following printed instructions (visit printed URL, authorize, click “Allow”, paste last URL back into terminal). This will get you authorization_code (which will be stored in ~/.lcrc) to use the API as a user you’ve logged-in as there. Repeat this step to authorize with a different account, if necessary.

Then just type whatever commands you want to (and don’t forget onedrive-cli --help):

% onedrive-cli tree

        README.txt: file
        image1.jpg: photo
        image2.jpg: photo

% onedrive-cli get Pics/image1.jpg downloaded_image1.jpg
% onedrive-cli put downloaded_image1.jpg
% onedrive-cli ls

- Documents
- Pics
- downloaded_image1.jpg

% onedrive-cli quota

free: 24.9G
quota: 25.0G

% onedrive-cli link -t embed downloaded_image1.jpg

embed_html: <iframe src=""
    width="98" height="120" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

% onedrive-cli rm downloaded_image1.jpg
% onedrive-cli rm -h

usage: onedrive-cli rm [-h] object [object ...]

positional arguments:
  object      Object(s) to remove.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help  show this help message and exit

% onedrive-cli -h


Most commands should be self-descriptive, but use “–help” when they aren’t.

Note that objects specified on the command-line are implicitly resolved as human-readable paths (which are basically metadata) unless they look like an id. This might be undesirable from performance perspective (extra requests) and might be undesirable if non-unique “name” attributes of objects in the same parent folder are used. Use “-p” or “-i” (“–path” / “–id”) switches to control this explicitly. See LiveConnect docs or notes section below for more info on how these work.

If you get HTTP error 400 right after or during “auth” command, read this comment on #4 (maybe with some context).

Known Issues and Limitations

  • Uploading of files larger than ~100 MiB is apparently not supported by OneDrive API - see #16 for details.

  • Be very careful using this module on Windows - it’s very poorly tested there, which is apparent from several serious issues that’s been reported - see commit d31fb51 and this report, for instance.

    Not sure how useful might be explicitly breaking things for WIndows (to avoid users having such issues from the start), especially since it’s extra work to remove functionality that was contributed by someone else, who apparently found it useful to have here.

  • As also noted below, TLS implementation on Microsoft seem to be broken, choking if client advertise TLS 1.2 in “Client Hello” packet and works if client only advertises TLS 1.0 support.

    Underlying HTTP protocol implementation module - requests - of really old versions earlier than 0.14.0 might have an issue with that (later versions can either work around it or patched in this module).

    So be sure to use requests 0.14.0 or higher - ideally 1.0.0 or later versions, where no dirty workarounds are necessary.

    For more details see these links:

  • Some proprietary formats, like “OneNote notebook” just can’t be accessed (see #2). OneDrive doesn’t allow GET requests for these things and they’re also special exceptions to other API methods, no idea what can be done there.

  • It’s been reported (#17) that Onedrive for Business is not supported. It seem to have different SharePoint 2013 API.

Module usage

doc/ file contains auto-generated (from code) API docs.

API code is split between three classes:

  • HTTP wrapper - OneDriveHTTPClient
  • Authentication methods - OneDriveAuth
  • Unbiased and simple wrappers around HTTP calls - OneDriveAPIWrapper, each one returning decoded HTTP response (i.e. whatever request method in OneDriveHTTPClient returns).
  • Biased convenience methods - OneDriveAPI

Such separation allowed to reuse OneDriveAPIWrapper class to wrap async (returning “Deferred” objects instead of data) in txOneDrive just by overriding “request” method from OneDriveHTTPClient.

See also onedrive/ for real-world API usage examples.


It’s a regular package for Python 2.7 (not 3.X).

Using pip (see also ) is the best way:

% pip install 'python-onedrive[standalone]'

If you don’t have it, use:

% easy_install pip
% pip install 'python-onedrive[standalone]'

Alternatively (see also and install guide):

% curl | python
% pip install 'python-onedrive[standalone]'

Or, if you absolutely must:

% easy_install python-onedrive requests

But, you really shouldn’t do that.

Current-git version can be installed like this:

% pip install 'git+'

“standalone” option above enables dependency on “requests” module, which is used as default HTTP client lib. If the plan is to extend or override that, flag can be dropped.

Note that to install stuff in system-wide PATH and site-packages, elevated privileges are often required. Use “install –user”, ~/.pydistutils.cfg or virtualenv to do unprivileged installs into custom paths.

Alternatively, ./onedrive-cli tool can be run right from the checkout tree without any installation, if that’s the only thing you need there.


  • Python 2.7 (not 3.X)
  • (unless your plan is to override that) requests - versions 0.14.0 or higher are strongly recommended - ideally 1.0.0+ (see “Known Issues” section below for rationale)
  • (optional, recommended) PyYAML - required for CLI tool and optional persistent-state (“conf”) module only.
  • (only on windows) pywin32 - for CLI tool (used to lock configuration file on changes) and optional conf module only.
  • (optional) chardet - used to detect encoding (utf-8, gbk, koi8-r, etc) of the command-line arguments to support workng with non-ascii (e.g. cyrillic, chinese) names, if it’s not specified explicitly.

LiveConnect/OneDrive API (v5.0) notes

Important: these details can (naturally) go obsolete, especially if timestamp of this doc is older than the one of the API docs, in which case please open an Issue pointing to the inconsistency.

It’s quite a conventional REST API with JSON encoding of structured data, like pretty much every other trendy modern API, say, github.

Authentication is “OAuth 2.0”, which is quite ambigous all by itself, and especially when being implemented by well-known for it’s proprietary “cripple-everything-else” extension creep Microsoft. It has a twist in authrization_code grant flow for “mobile” apps, where bearer token refresh can be performed without having to provide client_secret. Client app must be marked as “mobile” in DevCenter for that to work. There’s also totally LiveConnect-specific “Sign-In” auth flow. Access tokens for OneDrive scopes (plus wl.offline) seem to be issued with ttl of one hour.

Permissions are set per-path, are inherited for the created objects and cannot be changed through the API, only through the Web UI (or maybe proprietary windows interfaces as well).

Accessible to everyone URL links (of different types - embedded, read-only, read-write, preauthenticated) to any restricted-access object (that is reachable through the API) can be provided in “preauthenticated” form, a bit like in tahoe-lafs, but probably without the actual crypto keys embedded in them (not much point as they’re kept server-side along with the files anyway).

All but a few default paths (like “my_documents”) are accessed by file/folder IDs. All IDs seem to be in the form of “{obj_type}.{uid_lowercase}.{uid_uppercase}!{obj_number}”, where “obj_type” is a type of an object (e.g. “file”, “folder”, etc), “uid_*” is some 8-byte hex-encoded value, constant for all files/folders of the user, and “obj_number” is an integer value counting up from one for each uploaded file.

UI-visible names come on top of these IDs as metadata, so “rename” is essentially a metadata “name” field update and two files/folders with the same “name” can co-exist in the same parent folder, though uploading a file defaults to overwriting file with same “name” (disableable).

Aforementioned “default paths” (like “my_documents”) don’t seem to work reliably with copy and move methods, unless resolved to folder_id proper.

There’s a “Recycle Bin” path in web interface, which I don’t recall seeing any way to access, which keeps all removed files (for some limited time, presumably). Files removed through the API end up there as well.

There are some handy special OneDrive-related API URLs for stuff like quota, list of recent changes and a list of shared-with-me objects.

Files have a lot of metadata attached to them, parsed from their contents (exif data for photos, office documents metadata, etc). API allows to request image-previews of an items, links to which are also available in file (object) metadata.

Actual fetching of files seem to be done through, but TLS there doesn’t work with curl or python “requests” module at the moment, only with browsers. Problem seem to be broken TLS implementation on the IIS server - it chokes if client advertise TLS 1.2 in “Client Hello” packet (e.g. “openssl s_client -showcerts -connect”) and works if client only advertises TLS 1.0 support (“openssl s_client -tls1 -showcerts -connect”). Issue is known and generic workaround is documented as such in openssl project changelog. Newer “requests” module seem to have workaround for the issue implemented (0.14.0 seem to work, 0.10.8 does not).

Errors can be returned for most ops, encoded as JSON in responses and have a human-readable “code” (like “resource_quota_exceeded”) and descriptive “message”.

According to “OneDrive interaction guidelines”, it is discouraged (though not explicitly prohibited) to upload files in non-conventional formats that aren’t useable to other apps (under “Use OneDrive for the things that it’s good at”):

To support this principle, the Live Connect APIs limit the set of file formats
that apps can upload to OneDrive.

ToS for LiveConnect APIs is kinda weird, having unclear (at least to layman like me) stuff like this:

  • You may only use the Live SDK and Live Connect APIs to create software.

    Seem to imply that APIs shouldn’t be used in hardware, but I fail to see why it can’t also be interpreted as “only create software, not just use it to get/store stuff”.

  • You are solely and entirely responsible for all uses of Live Connect occurring under your Client ID.

    So either you take the blame for every potential user or go make all users register their own app? Hopefully I’ve misinterpreted that one.

After SkyDrive -> OneDrive rename (on 2014-02-19), API remained the same, with same URLs, same “me/skydrive” root, and API docs still seem to refer to the service as SkyDrive.

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