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OpenTok Hello World Python

This is a simple demo app that shows how you can use the OpenTok-Python-SDK to create Sessions, generate Tokens with those Sessions, and then pass these values to a JavaScript client that can connect and conduct a group chat.

Running the App

First, we highly recommend setting up a virtualenv.

$ virtualenv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate

Next, download the dependencies using Pip, from the current directory:

(venv)$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Then add your own API Key and API Secret to the environment variables. There are a few ways to do this but the simplest would be to do it right in your shell.

(venv)$ export API_KEY=0000000
(venv)$ export API_SECRET=abcdef1234567890abcdef01234567890abcdef

Finally, start the server.

(venv)$ python

Visit http://localhost:5000/ in your browser. Open it again in a second window. Smile! You've just set up a group chat.


This demo application uses the Flask web microframework. It is similar to many other popular web frameworks. We are only covering the very basics of the framework, but you can learn more by following the links above.

Main Application (

The first thing done in this file is to import the dependencies we will be using. In this case that is the Flask web framework, the os module, and most importantly the OpenTok SDK.

from flask import Flask, render_template
from opentok import OpenTok
import os

Next this file performs some basic checks on the environment. If it cannot find the API_KEYand API_SECRET environment variables, there is no point in continuing.

The object app is our application and its initialized by instantiating an object from Flask. Then we initialize an instance of OpenTok as opentok. If this file is run as the main file, we should start running the app.

app = Flask(__name__)
opentok = OpenTok(api_key, api_secret)

# ...

if __name__ == "__main__":

Now, lets discuss the Hello World application's functionality. We want to set up a group chat so that any client that visits a page will connect to the same OpenTok Session. Once they are connected they can Publish a Stream and Subscribe to all the other streams in that Session. So we just need one Session object, and it needs to be accessible every time a request is made. On the next line we simply call the OpenTok instance's create_session method to get a Session and store it in the session variable. Alternatively, session_ids are commonly stored in databses for applications that have many of them.

session = opentok.create_session()

We only need one page, so we create one route handler for any HTTP GET requests to trigger.

def hello():
  # ...

Now all we have to do is serve a page with the three values the client will need to connect to the session: api_key, session_id, and token. The api_key is available in the outer scope so we can just assign it. The session_id is available as the session.session_id attribute. The token is generated freshly on this request by calling the generate_token method of the opentok instance, and passing in the session_id. This is because a Token is a piece of information that carries a specific client's permissions in a certain Session. Ideally, as we've done here, you generate a unique token for each client that will connect.

    key = api_key
    session_id = session.session_id
    token = opentok.generate_token(session_id)

Now all we have to do is serve a page with those three values. Lets call our render_template helper that will pick up a template called index.html from the templates/ directory in our application and pass in the variables for it to include on the page.

    return render_template('index.html', api_key=key, session_id=session_id, token=token)

Main Template (templates/index.html)

This file simply sets up the HTML page for the JavaScript application to run, imports the JavaScript library, and passes the values created by the server into the JavaScript application inside public/js/helloworld.js

JavaScript Applicaton (static/js/helloworld.js)

The group chat is mostly implemented in this file. At a high level, we connect to the given Session, publish a stream from our webcam, and listen for new streams from other clients to subscribe to.

For more details, read the comments in the file or go to the JavaScript Client Library for a full reference.

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