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An API client for the ODK Central API. Use it to interact with your data and automate common tasks from Python.

This library aims to make common data analysis and workflow automation tasks as simple as possible by providing clear method names, types, and examples. It also provides convenient access to the full API using HTTP verb methods.


The currently supported Python version for pyodk is 3.8.

From pip

pip install pyodk

From source

# Get a copy of the repository.
mkdir -P ~/repos/pyodk
cd ~/repos/pyodk
git clone repo

# Create and activate a virtual environment for the install.
/usr/local/bin/python3.8 -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate

# Install pyodk and its production dependencies.
cd ~/repos/pyodk/repo
pip install -e .

# Leave the virtualenv.


The configuration file uses the TOML format. The default file name is .pyodk_config.toml, and the default location is the user home directory. The file name and location can be customised by setting the environment variable PYODK_CONFIG_FILE to some other file path, or by passing the path at init with Client(config_path="my_config.toml"). The expected file structure is as follows:

base_url = ""
username = "my_user"
password = "my_password"
default_project_id = 123

Custom configuration file paths

The Client is specific to a configuration and cache file. These approximately correspond to the session which the Client represents; it also encourages segregating credentials. These paths can be set by:

  • Setting environment variables PYODK_CONFIG_FILE and PYODK_CACHE_FILE
  • Init arguments: Client(config_path="my_config.toml", cache_path="my_cache.toml").

Default project

The Client is not specific to a project, but a default project_id can be set by:

  • A default_project_id in the configuration file.
  • An init argument: Client(project_id=1).
  • A property on the client: client.project_id = 1.

Session cache file

The session cache file uses the TOML format. The default file name is .pyodk_cache.toml, and the default location is the user home directory. The file name and location can be customised by setting the environment variable PYODK_CACHE_FILE to some other file path, or by passing the path at init with Client(config_path="my_cache.toml"). This file should not be pre-created as it is used to store a session token after login.


To get started with pyODK, build a Client:

from pyodk.client import Client

client = Client()

Authentication is triggered by the first API call on the Client, or by explicitly using

Use Client.close() to clean up a client session. Clean up is recommended for long-running scripts, e.g. web apps, etc.

You can also use the Client as a context manager to manage authentication and clean up:

with Client() as client:

Learn more in the documentation.


👉 See detailed tutorials in the documentation.

from pyodk.client import Client

client = Client()
projects = client.projects.list()
forms = client.forms.list()
submissions = client.submissions.list(form_id=next(forms).xmlFormId)
form_data = client.submissions.get_table(form_id="birds", project_id=8)
comments = client.submissions.list_comments(form_id=next(forms).xmlFormId, instance_id="uuid:...")
  attachments=["fruits.csv", "vegetables.png"],

Session customization

If Session behaviour needs to be customised, for example to set alternative timeouts or retry strategies, etc., then subclass the pyodk.session.Session and provide an instance to the Client constructor, e.g. Client(session=my_session).


Errors raised by pyODK and other messages are logged using the logging standard library. The logger is in the pyodk namespace / hierarchy (e.g pyodk.config, pyodk.endpoints.auth, etc.). The logs can be manipulated from your script / app as follows.

import logging

# Initialise an example basic logging config (writes to stdout/stderr).

# Get a reference to the pyodk logger.
pyodk_log = logging.getLogger("pyodk")

# Receive everything DEBUG level and higher.
pyodk_log.propagate = True

# Ignore everything below FATAL level.
pyodk_log.propagate = False

Errors raised by pyODK

Error types raised by pyODK are found in, which currently is only the PyODKError. In general this error is raised when:

  • The pyODK configuration is invalid (missing file, missing fields, etc).
  • The client method arguments are invalid (missing, wrong type, etc.).
  • The response from ODK Central indicated and error (HTTP >=400, <600).
  • The data returned from ODK Central does not have the expected fields or types.

Note that pyODK does not attempt to wrap every possible error condition, so if needed, broader exception handling should be included in your script / app.


See issues for additions to pyodk that are under consideration. Please file new issues for any functionality you are missing.


Install the source files as described above, then:

pip install -r dev_requirements.pip

You can run tests with:


On Windows, use:

nosetests -v -v --traverse-namespace ./tests


  1. Run all linting and tests.
  2. Draft a new GitHub release with the list of merged PRs.
  3. Check out a release branch from latest upstream master.
  4. Update pyodk/ with the new release version number.
  5. Commit, push the branch, and initiate a pull request. Wait for tests to pass, then merge the PR.
  6. Tag the release and it will automatically be published (see release.yml actions file).