Quick Start

In this section, we go over everything you need to know to start building scripts, or bots using PRAW, the Python Reddit API Wrapper. It’s fun and easy. Let’s get started.

Prerequisites

Python Knowledge:
 You need to know at least a little Python to use PRAW; it’s a Python wrapper after all. PRAW supports Python 2.7, and Python 3.3 to 3.6. If you are stuck on a problem, /r/learnpython is a great place to ask for help.
Reddit Knowledge:
 A basic understanding of how reddit.com works is a must. In the event you are not already familiar with Reddit start with their FAQ.
Reddit Account:A Reddit account is required to access Reddit’s API. Create one at reddit.com.
Client ID & Client Secret:
 These two values are needed to access Reddit’s API as a script application (see Authenticating via OAuth for other application types). If you don’t already have a client ID and client secret, follow Reddit’s First Steps Guide to create them.
User Agent:A user agent is a unique indentifer that helps Reddit determine the source of network requests. To use Reddit’s API, you need a unique and descriptive user agent. The recommended format is <platform>:<app ID>:<version string> (by /u/<Reddit username>). For example, android:com.example.myredditapp:v1.2.3 (by /u/kemitche). Read more about user-agents at Reddit’s API wiki page.

With these prerequisites satisifed, you are ready to learn how to do some of the most common tasks with Reddit’s API.

Common Tasks

Obtain a Reddit Instance

You need an instance of the Reddit class to do anything with PRAW. There are two distinct states a Reddit instance can be in: read-only, and authorized.

Read-only Reddit Instances

To create a read-only Reddit instance, you need three pieces of information:

  1. client ID
  2. client secret
  3. user agent

You may choose to provide these by passing in three keyword arguments when calling the initializer of the Reddit class: client_id, client_secret, user_agent (see Configuring PRAW for other methods of providing this information). For example:

import praw

reddit = praw.Reddit(client_id='my client id',
                     client_secret='my client secret',
                     user_agent='my user agent')

Just like that, you now have a read-only Reddit instance.

print(reddit.read_only)  # Output: True

With a read-only instance, you can do something like obtaining 10 ‘hot’ submissions from /r/learnpython:

# continued from code above

for submission in reddit.subreddit('learnpython').hot(limit=10):
    print(submission.title)

# Output: 10 submission

If you want to do more than retrieve public information from Reddit, then you need an authorized Reddit instance.

Note

In the above example we are limiting the results to 10. Without the limit parameter PRAW should yield as many results as it can with a single request. For most endpoints this results in 100 items per request. If you want to retrieve as many as possible pass in limit=None.

Authorized Reddit Instances

In order to create an authorized Reddit instance, two additional pieces of information are required for script applications (see Authenticating via OAuth for other application types):

  1. your Reddit user name, and
  2. your Reddit password

Again, you may choose to provide these by passing in keyword arguments username and password when you call the Reddit initializer, like the following:

import praw

reddit = praw.Reddit(client_id='my client id',
                     client_secret='my client secret',
                     user_agent='my user agent',
                     username='my username',
                     password='my password')

print(reddit.read_only)  # Output: False

Now you can do whatever your Reddit account is authorized to do. And you can switch back to read-only mode whenever you want:

# continued from code above
reddit.read_only = True

Note

If you are uncomfortable hard coding your credentials into your program, there are some options available to you. Please see: Configuring PRAW.

Obtain a Subreddit

To obtain a Subreddit instance, pass the subreddit’s name when calling subreddit on your Reddit instance. For example:

# assume you have a Reddit instance bound to variable `reddit`
subreddit = reddit.subreddit('redditdev')

print(subreddit.display_name)  # Output: redditdev
print(subreddit.title)         # Output: reddit Development
print(subreddit.description)   # Output: A subreddit for discussion of ...

Obtain Submission Instances from a Subreddit

Now that you have a Subreddit instance, you can iterate through some of its submissions, each bound to an instance of Submission. There are several sorts that you can iterate through:

  • controversial
  • gilded
  • hot
  • new
  • rising
  • top

Each of these methods will immediately return a ListingGenerator, which is to be iterated through. For example, to iterate through the first 10 submissions based on the hot sort for a given subreddit try:

# assume you have a Subreddit instance bound to variable `subreddit`
for submission in subreddit.hot(limit=10):
    print(submission.title)  # Output: the submission's title
    print(submission.score)  # Output: the submission's score
    print(submission.id)     # Output: the submission's ID
    print(submission.url)    # Output: the URL the submission points to
                             # or the submission's URL if it's a self post

Note

The act of calling a method that returns a ListingGenerator does not result in any network requests until you begin to iterate through the ListingGenerator.

You can create Submission instances in other ways too:

# assume you have a Reddit instance bound to variable `reddit`
submission = reddit.submission(id='39zje0')
print(submission.title)  # Output: reddit will soon only be available ...

# or
submission = reddit.submission(url='https://www.reddit.com/...')

Obtain Redditor Instances

There are several ways to obtain a redditor (a Redditor instance). Two of the most common ones are:

For example:

  # assume you have a Submission instance bound to variable `submission`
 redditor1 = submission.author
 print(redditor1.name)  # Output: name of the redditor

# assume you have a Reddit instance bound to variable `reddit`
 redditor2 = reddit.redditor('bboe')
 print(redditor2.link_karma)  # Output: bboe's karma

Obtain Comment Instances

Submissions have a comments attribute that is a CommentForest instance. That instance is iterable and represents the top-level comments of the submission by the default comment sort (best). If you instead want to iterate over all comments as a flattened list you can call the list() method on a CommentForest instance. For example:

# assume you have a Reddit instance bound to variable `reddit`
top_level_comments = list(submission.comments)
all_comments = submission.comments.list()

Note

The comment sort order can be changed by updating the value of comment_sort on the Submission instance prior to accessing comments (see: /api/set_suggested_sort for possible values). For example to have comments sorted by new try something like:

# assume you have a Reddit instance bound to variable `reddit`
submission = reddit.submission(id='39zje0')
submission.comment_sort = 'new'
top_level_comments = list(submission.comments)

As you may be aware there will periodically be MoreComments instances scattered throughout the forest. Replace those MoreComments instances at any time by calling replace_more() on a CommentForest instance. Calling replace_more() access comments, and so must be done after comment_sort is updated. See Extracting comments with PRAW for an example.

Determine Available Attributes of an Object

If you have a PRAW object, e.g., Comment, Message, Redditor, or Submission, and you want to see what attributes are available along with their values, use the built-in vars() function of python. For example:

import pprint

# assume you have a Reddit instance bound to variable `reddit`
submission = reddit.submission(id='39zje0')
print(submission.title) # to make it non-lazy
pprint.pprint(vars(submission))

Note the line where we print the title. PRAW uses lazy objects so that network requests to Reddit’s API are only issued when information is needed. Here, before the print line, submission points to a lazy Submission object. When we try to print its title, additional information is needed, thus a network request is made, and the instances ceases to be lazy. Outputting all the attributes of a lazy object will result in fewer attributes than expected.