The library for uploading channels to Kolibri!
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The ricecooker library is a framework for creating Kolibri content channels and uploading them to Kolibri Studio, which is the central content server that Kolibri applications talk to when they import content.

The Kolibri content pipeline is pictured below:

The Kolibri Content Pipeline

This ricecooker framework is the "main actor" in the first part of the content pipeline, and touches all aspects of the pipeline within the region highlighted in blue in the above diagram.

Before we continue, let's have some definitions:

  • A Kolibri channel is a tree-like data structure that consist of the following content nodes:
    • Topic nodes (folders)
    • Content types:
      • Document (PDF files)
      • Audio (mp3 files)
      • Video (mp4 files)
      • HTML5App zip files (generic container for web content: HTML+JS+CSS)
      • Exercises
  • A sushi chef is a Python script that uses the ricecooker library to import content from various sources, organize content into Kolibri channels and upload the channel to Kolibri Studio.


Use the following shortcuts to jump to the most relevant parts of the ricecooker documentation depending on your role:


We'll assume you have a Python 3 installation on your computer and are familiar with best practices for working with Python codes (e.g. virtualenv or pipenv). If this is not the case, you can consult the Kolibri developer docs as a guide for setting up a Python virtualenv.

The ricecooker library is a standard Python library distributed through PyPI:

  • Run pip install ricecooker to install You can then use import ricecooker in your chef script.
  • Some of functions in ricecooker.utils require additional software:
    • Make sure you install the command line tool ffmpeg
    • Running javascript code while scraping webpages requires the phantomJS browser. You can run npm install phantomjs-prebuilt in your chef's working directory.

For more details and install options, see docs/

Simple chef example

This is a sushi chef script that uses the ricecooker library to create a Kolibri channel with a single topic node (Folder), and puts a single PDF content node inside that folder.

#!/usr/bin/env python
from ricecooker.chefs import SushiChef
from ricecooker.classes.nodes import ChannelNode, TopicNode, DocumentNode
from ricecooker.classes.files import DocumentFile
from ricecooker.classes.licenses import get_license

class SimpleChef(SushiChef):
    channel_info = {
        'CHANNEL_TITLE': 'Potatoes info channel',
        'CHANNEL_SOURCE_DOMAIN': '<>',         # where you got the content (change me!!)
        'CHANNEL_SOURCE_ID': '<unique id for channel>',  # channel's unique id (change me!!)
        'CHANNEL_LANGUAGE': 'en',                        # le_utils language code
        'CHANNEL_THUMBNAIL': '', # (optional)
        'CHANNEL_DESCRIPTION': 'What is this channel about?',      # (optional)

    def construct_channel(self, **kwargs):
        channel = self.get_channel(**kwargs)
        potato_topic = TopicNode(title="Potatoes!", source_id="<potatos_id>")
        doc_node = DocumentNode(
            title='Growing potatoes',
            description='An article about growing potatoes on your rooftop.',
            license=get_license('CC BY', copyright_holder='University of Alberta'),
        return channel

if __name__ == '__main__':
    Run this script on the command line using:
        python -v --reset --token=YOURTOKENHERE9139139f3a23232
    simple_chef = SimpleChef()

Let's assume the above code snippet is saved as the file

You can run the chef script by passing the appropriate command line arguments:

python -v --reset --token=YOURTOKENHERE9139139f3a23232

The most important argument when running a chef script is --token which is used to pass in the Studio Access Token which you can obtain from your profile's settings page.

The flags -v (verbose) and --reset are generally useful in development. These make sure the chef script will start the process from scratch and displays useful debugging information on the command line.

To see all the ricecooker command line options, run python -h. For more details about running chef scripts see the chefops page.

If you get an error when running the chef, make sure you've replaced YOURTOKENHERE9139139f3a23232 by the token you obtained from Studio. Also make sure you've changed the value of channel_info['CHANNEL_SOURCE_DOMAIN'] and channel_info['CHANNEL_SOURCE_ID'] instead of using the default values.

Next steps

  • See the usage docs for more explanations about the above code.
  • See nodes to learn how to create different content node types.
  • See file to learn about the file types supported, and how to create them.

Further reading