PyPump and the Pump API

PyPump is aiming to implement and interface with the Pump API, which is a federation protocol for the web. You can read the actual Pump API docs to get a sense of all that, but here’s a high level overview.

The Pump API is all about ActivityStreams and sending JSON-encoded descriptions of activities back and forth across different users on different sites. At the highest conceptual level, it’s not too different from the idea of email servers sending emails back and forth, but the messages (activities here) are much more specific and carry more specific meaning about what “type” of message is being sent back and forth. An activity can be a user “favoriting” something or “posting an image” or what have you.

In the world of email, each user has an email address; in the world of Pump, each user has a webfinger address. It looks pretty similar, but it’s meant for the web. For the sake of this tutorial, you don’t need to know how webfinger works; the PyPump will handle that for you.

Each user has two main feeds that are used for communication. In the Pump API docs’ own wording:

  • An activity outbox (probably at /api/user/<nickname>/feed). This is where the user posts new activities, and where others can read the user’s activities.
  • An activity inbox (probably at /api/user/<nickname>/inbox). This is where the user can read posts that were sent to him/her. Remote servers can post activities here to be delivered to the user.

(We use the inbox/outbox convention fairly strongly in PyPump.)

You can read the Pump spec, but sometimes coding examples are the best way to learn. So, that said, let’s get into an example of using PyPump!

A quick example

Let’s assume you already have a user with the webfinger id of mizbunny@example.org. We want to check what our latest messages are! But before we can do that, we need to authenticate. If this is your first time, you need to authenticate this client:

>>> from pypump import PyPump, Client
>>> client = Client(
...     webfinger="mizbunny@example.org",
...     type="native", # Can be "native" or "web"
...     name="Test.io"
...     )
>>> def simple_verifier(url):
...     print('Go to: ' + url)
...     return raw_input('Verifier: ') # they will get a code back
>>> pump = PyPump(client=client, verifier_callback=simple_verifier)

The PyPump call will try to verify with OAuth. You may wish to change how it asks for authentication. The simple_verifier function in the example above writes to standard out a URL for the user to click and reads in from standard in for a verification code presented by the webserver.


By default PyPump will use the JSONStore which comes with PyPump. This will store the client and OAuth credentials created when you connect to pump at ~/$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/PyPump/credentials.json. If you wish to change the path or store the data somewhere else (postgres, mongo, redis, etc.) we suggest you read the Store documentation.


You should store the client credentials and tokens somewhere safe, with this information anyone can access the user’s pump.io account!

You can now reconnect like so:

>>> client = Client(
...     webfinger="mizbunny@example.org",
...     type="native",
...     name="Test.io",
>>> pump = PyPump(
...     client=client,
...     verifier_callback=simple_verifier

Okay, we’re connected! Next up, we want to check out what our last 30 items in our inbox are, but first we need to find ourselves:

>>> me = pump.Person("mizbunny@example.org")
>>> me.summary
>>> 'Hello and welcome to my summary'

That looks like us, now to find our inbox items. The inbox comes in three versions

  • me.inbox.major is where major activities such as posted notes and images end up.
  • me.inbox.minor is where minor activities such as likes and comments end up.
  • me.inbox is a combination of both of the above.

We only want to see notes, so we use the major inbox. The inbox supports python-style index slicing:

>>> recent_activities = me.inbox.major[:30]  # get last 30 activities

We could print out each of the most recent activities like so:

>>> for activity in recent_activities:
>>>     print(activity)
<Activity: Evan Prodromou posted a note>
<Activity: jrobb posted a note>
<Activity: jpope posted a note>
<Activity: sazius posted a note>

Maybe we’re just looking at our most recent message, and see it’s from our friend Evan. It seems that he wants to invite us over for a dinner party:

>>> activity = recent_activities[0]
>>> activity
<Activity: Evan Prodromou posted a note>
>>> message = activity.obj
>>> message.author
<User evan@e14n.com>
>>> message.content
"Yo, want to come over to dinner?  We're making asparagus!"

We can comment on the message saying we’d love to:

>>> our_reply = pump.Comment("I'd love to!")
>>> message.comment(our_reply) # this is Evan's message we got above!

(Since this Note activity is being instantiated, it needs a reference to our PyPump class instance. Objects that you get back and forth from the API themselves will try to keep track of their own parent PyPump object for you.)

We could even like/favourite the previous message:

>>> message.like()

We can also check to see what our buddy’s public feed is. Maybe he’s said some interesting things?:

>>> evan = message.author
>>> for activity in evan.outbox:
>>>     message = activity.obj
>>>     print(message.content)

Perhaps we want to know a bit about Evan:

>>> print(evan.summary)

Maybe we took a picture, and we want to post that picture to our public feed so everyone can see it. We can do this by posting it to our outbox:

>>> img = pump.Image(
...     display_name="Sunset",
...     content="I took this the other day, came out really well!")
>>> img.from_file("sunset.jpg")

When posting an image or a note you may wish to post it to more people than just your followers (which is the default on most pump servers). You can easily do this by doing:

>>> my_note = pump.Note("This will go to everyone!")
>>> my_note.to = pump.Public
>>> my_note.send()

You can also send notes to specific people so if I wanted to send a note only to evan to invite him over, I could do something like this:

>>> my_note = pump.Note("Hey evan, would you like to come over later to check out PyPump")
>>> my_note.to = pump.Person("e14n@e14n.org")
>>> my_note.send() # Only evan will see this.