An unaspiring read-only HTTP API server written in Python.
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An unaspiring read-only HTTP API server written in Python.

Easily extended with your own commands.

Includes default commands for querying Wikipedia, Wikidata and the Magic 8-Ball.

Try the live demo:


Running (production)

To run the server simply run in the root. There's also a uwsgi.ini configuration example for production use.

Another option is simply running this with an init script (see etc/ubuntu-init.conf for an example), and proxy the calls using something like Nginx. See etc/nginx-example.conf for an example.

Running (development)

For debugging purposes try running with the debug=1 flag:

$ python --debug=1

Or simply use -d

$ python -d

To disable caching use the -nc flag.

This will run your Chantek server on port 5000.

For a list of all commands try going to http://localhost:5000/_commands.

All commands can be queried like this:

$ curl http://localhost:5000/<command>?param1=foo&param2=bar

Commands with methods (see below) can be called like this:

$ curl http://localhost:5000/<command>/<method>?param1=foo&param2=bar

Commands return their data as JSON following a consistent format:

$ curl http://localhost:5000/wikipedia/define?q=Chantek

    // Contains the original parameters
    "params": {
        "q": "Chantek"

    // Did an error occur during your call?
    "error": false,

    // Contains the original command
    "command": "wikipedia",

    // Response from the command
    "response": {
        "extract": "Chantek (born December 17, 1977, at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia) is a male orangutan who has mastered the use of a number of intellectual skills, including sign language, taught by American anthropologists Lyn Miles and Ann Southcombe. In Malay and Indonesian, cantik (pronounced chanteek) means \"lovely\" or \"beautiful\".",
        "ns": 0,
        "pageid": 1577406,
        "title": "Chantek"

    // Version number
    "chantek": "0.1.0"

HTTP responses by default are CORS enabled for use in web applications.

Chantek Commands

Commands go in the commands folder. Every command should be in a subfolder, with at least a file (this should be empty) and a file.

For example:


The simplest file has a structure like this:

def run(args):
    return "hello world"

args gives back all the url arguments given in the query as a dict.

To write a command with methods (like command/verb), write your command like this:

methods = ("foo")

def run(args, method):
    if method == "bar":
        return "Bar!"

A command can be known under several aliases:


aliases = ['hola']

def run(args):
    return "hello world"

# This command can be reached under both 'hello' and 'hola'

To indicate that a command is cacheable simple write a constant in your command like this:


This will save every unique URL query to an configured cache.

You can make only some methods cacheable, to do so, simply use a tuple instead of a bool

methods = ("search", "random")
CACHEABLE = ("search") # 'random' should not be cacheable


Currently there are two caching options: in-memory (this simply saves stuff to a dict), or Redis. Optionally, an expire timeout can be given in seconds. See the file for instructions on how to configure your cache.

Packages you need

I should probably make a requirements.txt file sometime, for now run this:

sudo pip install flask requests pyquery lxml redis xmltodict python-dateutil


Things that are not working yet and should be done:

  • Commands should be self-documenting, and display help in the API
  • Going to the root of the server (e.g. http://localhost:5000) should return an interactive console
  • More commands!

Who's Chantek?

"Api" pronounced in Dutch means "monkey", and Chantek is a very special monkey indeed. He's mastered sign language, and even understands spoken English. Given the fact that API's are all about communication, it made sense to name a HTTP server after a monkey that speaks English.