Backup Telegram chat logs using telegram-cli
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README.md

telegram-history-dump

This utility is the successor of telegram-json-backup, written from the ground up in Ruby. It can create backups of your Telegram user and (super)group dialogs using telegram-cli's remote control feature.

Compared to the old project, telegram-history-dump:

  • Has better support for media downloads
  • Supports output formats other than JSON and is extensible with custom formats
  • Supports incremental backup (only new messages are downloaded)
  • Does not depend on unstable Python/Lua bindings within telegram-cli
  • Has a separate YAML formatted configuration file

The default configuration will backup all dialogs to a directory named output, in JSON format, without downloading any media.

Usage

First time setup

  1. Compile telegram-cli, start it once to link your Telegram account
  2. Make sure Ruby 2+ is installed on your system: ruby --version
  3. Optionally configure your backup routine by editing config.yaml

Performing a backup

  1. Start telegram-cli with at least the following options: telegram-cli --json -P 9009
  2. While telegram-cli is running, execute the script: ruby telegram-history-dump.rb

Formatters

History will always be stored in JSON Lines compliant files. However, additional output formats can be produced by uncommenting a few lines in the configuration file.

You can enable one or more of the following formatter modules:

html creates styled, paginated chat logs vieweable with a web browser.

plaintext creates human-readable text files, organized as one file per day.

bare outputs only the actual message texts without any context. It is meant for linguistic / statistical analysis.

pisg creates daily logs compatible with the EnergyMech IRC logging format as input for the PISG chat statistics generator. Also see telegram-pisg.

You can also implement a custom formatter; see formatters/lib/formatter_base.rb for details.

Command line options

Most of the backup configuration is done through the config file, but a few specific options are available as CLI options. None of them are mandatory.

Usage: telegram-history-dump.rb [options]
    -c, --config=cfg.yaml            Path to YAML configuration file
    -k, --kill-tg                    Kill telegram-cli after backup
    -h, --help                       Show help
    -d, --dir=DIR                    Subdirectory for output files
                                     (relative to backup_dir in YAML config)
    -l, --limit=LIMIT                Maximum number of messages to backup
                                     for each target (overrides YAML config)

Notes

Usage notes:

  • It is possible to run telegram-cli on a different machine, e.g. as a daemon on a server. In this case you must pass --accept-any-tcp to telegram-cli and firewall the port appropriately to prevent unwanted exposure. Keep in mind that some options regarding media files will not work in a remote setup.
  • Be careful with decreasing chunk_delay or increasing chunk_size. Telegram seems to rate limit history requests. Going too fast may cause an operation to time out and force the script to skip part of a dump.

Telegram-cli issues known to affect telegram-history-dump:

  • vysheng/tg#947 can cause crashes when dumping channels with more than 100 messages.
  • vysheng/tg#904 can cause crashes when dialogs contain certain media files. If you get this, recompile telegram-cli with the suggested workaround.