Accessing the Full API

The TelegramClient doesn’t offer a method for every single request the Telegram API supports. However, it’s very simple to call or invoke any request. Whenever you need something, don’t forget to check the documentation and look for the method you need. There you can go through a sorted list of everything you can do.

Note

The reason to keep both https://lonamiwebs.github.io/Telethon and this documentation alive is that the former allows instant search results as you type, and a “Copy import” button. If you like namespaces, you can also do from telethon.tl import types, functions. Both work.

You should also refer to the documentation to see what the objects (constructors) Telegram returns look like. Every constructor inherits from a common type, and that’s the reason for this distinction.

Say client.send_message() didn’t exist, we could use the search to look for “message”. There we would find SendMessageRequest, which we can work with.

Every request is a Python class, and has the parameters needed for you to invoke it. You can also call help(request) for information on what input parameters it takes. Remember to “Copy import to the clipboard”, or your script won’t be aware of this class! Now we have:

from telethon.tl.functions.messages import SendMessageRequest

If you’re going to use a lot of these, you may do:

from telethon.tl import types, functions
# We now have access to 'functions.messages.SendMessageRequest'

We see that this request must take at least two parameters, a peer of type InputPeer, and a message which is just a Python string.

How can we retrieve this InputPeer? We have two options. We manually construct one, for instance:

from telethon.tl.types import InputPeerUser

peer = InputPeerUser(user_id, user_hash)

Or we call .get_input_entity():

peer = client.get_input_entity('someone')

When you’re going to invoke an API method, most require you to pass an InputUser, InputChat, or so on, this is why using .get_input_entity() is more straightforward (and often immediate, if you’ve seen the user before, know their ID, etc.). If you also need to have information about the whole user, use .get_entity() instead:

entity = client.get_entity('someone')

In the later case, when you use the entity, the library will cast it to its “input” version for you. If you already have the complete user and want to cache its input version so the library doesn’t have to do this every time its used, simply call .get_input_peer:

from telethon import utils
peer = utils.get_input_user(entity)

Note

Since v0.16.2 this is further simplified. The Request itself will call client.get_input_entity() for you when required, but it’s good to remember what’s happening.

After this small parenthesis about .get_entity versus .get_input_entity, we have everything we need. To .invoke() our request we do:

result = client(SendMessageRequest(peer, 'Hello there!'))
# __call__ is an alias for client.invoke(request). Both will work

Message sent! Of course, this is only an example. There are nearly 250 methods available as of layer 73, and you can use every single of them as you wish. Remember to use the right types! To sum up:

result = client(SendMessageRequest(
    client.get_input_entity('username'), 'Hello there!'
))

This can further be simplified to:

result = client(SendMessageRequest('username', 'Hello there!'))
# Or even
result = client(SendMessageRequest(PeerChannel(id), 'Hello there!'))

Note

Note that some requests have a “hash” parameter. This is not your api_hash! It likely isn’t your self-user .access_hash either.

It’s a special hash used by Telegram to only send a difference of new data that you don’t already have with that request, so you can leave it to 0, and it should work (which means no hash is known yet).

For those requests having a “limit” parameter, you can often set it to zero to signify “return default amount”. This won’t work for all of them though, for instance, in “messages.search” it will actually return 0 items.