If you’re just starting out with CanvasAPI, you may run into exceptions right out of the gate. Below are a few common issues to check for.

URL Formatting

Confirm that the Canvas URL you’re passing into the canvasapi.Canvas object as base_url is properly formatted:

  • Starts with https:// (Only use http if absolutely neccessary)
  • Does NOT include /api/v1/
  • Does NOT have a trailing slash
  • Does NOT have leading or trailing whitespace

Bad URL Examples (Avoid These!)

  • ""
  • ""
  • ""
  • ""
  • ""
  • ""
  • ""
  • " "

Good URL Examples

  • ""
  • ""
  • ""

Access Token

CanvasAPI expects an access token, NOT a developer key. If you have a developer key, you’ll need to follow the OAuth2 process to get the access token for a user.

To create an access token as your user without a developer key, you can create one manually through the Canvas LMS user interface. Go to Account > Settings, then scroll down to the “Approved Integrations” section and click the “New Access Token” button.

You can test your new access token manually with a third-party tool like curl or Postman. To test with CanvasAPI, call canvasapi.Canvas.get_current_user() and check if returns the appropriate user information.

Ensure the token you provide to CanvasAPI is correctly formatted:

  • Does NOT have leading or trailing whitespace
  • Does NOT contain Bearer (CanvasAPI will add this for you, where appropriate)
  • Includes the shard ID, separated by ~ (if applicable)
  • Is a valid (non-expired) token
  • Is the full length token (usually 64 characters, not including the shard ID)

Bad Access Token Examples (Avoid these!)

  • " 7H155up3r53CR3770K3n15n07R34L4Nd5h0uLDN0783u53dpL34534nd7H4nKY0u"
  • "7H155up3r53CR3770K3n15n07R34L4Nd5h0uLDN0783u53dpL34534nd7H4nKY0u "
  • "Bearer 7H155up3r53CR3770K3n15n07R34L4Nd5h0uLDN0783u53dpL34534nd7H4nKY0u"
  • "1 7H155up3r53CR3770K3n15n07R34L4Nd5h0uLDN0783u53dpL34534nd7H4nKY0u"
  • "7H155up3r53CR3770K3n15n07R34L4Nd5h0uLDN0783u53dpL34534nd7H4nKY0"

Good Access Token Examples

  • "7H155up3r53CR3770K3n15n07R34L4Nd5h0uLDN0783u53dpL34534nd7H4nKY0u"
  • "1~7H155up3r53CR3770K3n15n07R34L4Nd5h0uLDN0783u53dpL34534nd7H4nKY0u"

User Permissions

You may recieve unexpected Unauthorized or Forbidden exceptions. It is also possible to get ResourceDoesNotExist exceptions for objects that actually do exist. These are usually signs of the user lacking sufficient permissions to access the endpoint.

To determine if the issue is related to a bad access token or insufficent permissions, use the test described in Access Token above. If that works properly but you still can’t access the other endpoints, your user may not have the permissions required to use that endpoint. You may need to discuss your permission levels with your Canvas LMS Administrator.

Still Have a Problem?

If you’ve checked for and corrected these common mistakes but are still encountering an unexpected issue, please look at our instructions for setting up logging in CanvasAPI. This may help find the issue.

If you need further assistance, please create an issue on GitHub or join us in the #canvasapi channel on the UCF Open Source Slack. There are lots of friendly folks willing to help you figure out what’s going on!