Get messages

GET https://lfortran.zulipchat.com/api/v1/messages

Fetch user's message history from a Zulip server.

This endpoint is the primary way to fetch a user's message history from a Zulip server. It is useful both for Zulip clients (e.g. the web, desktop, mobile, and terminal clients) as well as bots, API clients, backup scripts, etc.

Note that a user's message history does not contain messages sent to streams before they subscribe, and newly created bot users are not usually subscribed to any streams.

By specifying a narrow filter, you can use this endpoint to fetch the messages matching any search query that is supported by Zulip's powerful full-text search backend.

In either case, you specify an anchor message (or ask the server to calculate the first unread message for you and use that as the anchor), as well as a number of messages before and after the anchor message. The server returns those messages, sorted by message ID, as well as some metadata that makes it easy for a client to determine whether there are more messages matching the query that were not returned due to the num_before and num_after limits.

We recommend using num_before <= 1000 and num_after <= 1000 to avoid generating very large HTTP responses. A maximum of 5000 messages can be obtained per request; attempting to exceed this will result in an error.

Usage examples

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import zulip

# Pass the path to your zuliprc file here.
client = zulip.Client(config_file="~/zuliprc")

# Get the 100 last messages sent by "iago@zulip.com" to the stream "Verona"
request: Dict[str, Any] = {
    "anchor": "newest",
    "num_before": 100,
    "num_after": 0,
    "narrow": [
        {"operator": "sender", "operand": "iago@zulip.com"},
        {"operator": "stream", "operand": "Verona"},
    ],
}
result = client.get_messages(request)
print(result)

More examples and documentation can be found here.

const zulipInit = require("zulip-js");

// Pass the path to your zuliprc file here.
const config = { zuliprc: "zuliprc" };

(async () => {
    const client = await zulipInit(config);

    const readParams = {
        anchor: "newest",
        num_before: 100,
        num_after: 0,
        narrow: [
            {operator: "sender", operand: "iago@zulip.com"},
            {operator: "stream", operand: "Verona"},
        ],
    };

    // Get the 100 last messages sent by "iago@zulip.com" to the stream "Verona"
    console.log(await client.messages.retrieve(readParams));
})();

curl -sSX GET -G https://lfortran.zulipchat.com/api/v1/messages \
    -u BOT_EMAIL_ADDRESS:BOT_API_KEY \
    --data-urlencode anchor=43 \
    --data-urlencode num_before=4 \
    --data-urlencode num_after=8 \
    --data-urlencode 'narrow=[{"operand": "Denmark", "operator": "stream"}]'

Parameters

anchor string | integer optional

Example: 43

Integer message ID to anchor fetching of new messages. Supports special string values for when the client wants the server to compute the anchor to use:

  • newest: The most recent message.
  • oldest: The oldest message.
  • first_unread: The oldest unread message matching the query, if any; otherwise, the most recent message.

Changes: String values are new in Zulip 3.0 (feature level 1). The first_unread functionality was supported in Zulip 2.1.x and older by not sending anchor and using use_first_unread_anchor.

In Zulip 2.1.x and older, oldest can be emulated with anchor=0, and newest with anchor=10000000000000000 (that specific large value works around a bug in Zulip 2.1.x and older in the found_newest return value).


include_anchor boolean optional

Example: false

Whether a message with the specified ID matching the narrow should be included.

Changes: New in Zulip 6.0 (feature level 155).

Defaults to true.


num_before integer required

Example: 4

The number of messages with IDs less than the anchor to retrieve.


num_after integer required

Example: 8

The number of messages with IDs greater than the anchor to retrieve.


narrow (object | (string)[])[] optional

Example: [{"operand": "Denmark", "operator": "stream"}]

The narrow where you want to fetch the messages from. See how to construct a narrow.

Note that many narrows, including all that lack a stream or streams operator, search the user's personal message history. See searching shared history for details.

For example, if you would like to fetch messages from all public streams instead of only the user's message history, then a specific narrow for messages sent to all public streams can be used: {"operator": "streams", "operand": "public"}.

Newly created bot users are not usually subscribed to any streams, so bots using this API should either be subscribed to appropriate streams or use a shared history search narrow with this endpoint.

Changes: In Zulip 2.1.0, added support for using user/stream IDs when constructing narrows for a message's sender, its stream and/or its recipient(s).


client_gravatar boolean optional

Example: false

Whether the client supports computing gravatars URLs. If enabled, avatar_url will be included in the response only if there is a Zulip avatar, and will be null for users who are using gravatar as their avatar. This option significantly reduces the compressed size of user data, since gravatar URLs are long, random strings and thus do not compress well. The client_gravatar field is set to true if clients can compute their own gravatars.

Changes: The default value of this parameter was false prior to Zulip 5.0 (feature level 92).

Defaults to true.


apply_markdown boolean optional

Example: false

If true, message content is returned in the rendered HTML format. If false, message content is returned in the raw Markdown-format text that user entered.

Defaults to true.


use_first_unread_anchor boolean optional Deprecated

Example: true

Legacy way to specify anchor="first_unread" in Zulip 2.1.x and older.

Whether to use the (computed by the server) first unread message matching the narrow as the anchor. Mutually exclusive with anchor.

Changes: Deprecated in Zulip 3.0 (feature level 1) and replaced by anchor="first_unread".

Defaults to false.


Response

Return values

  • anchor: integer

    The same anchor specified in the request (or the computed one, if use_first_unread_anchor is true).

  • found_newest: boolean

    Whether the messages list includes the very newest messages matching the narrow (used by clients that paginate their requests to decide whether there are more messages to fetch).

  • found_oldest: boolean

    Whether the messages list includes the very oldest messages matching the narrow (used by clients that paginate their requests to decide whether there are more messages to fetch).

  • found_anchor: boolean

    Whether the anchor message is included in the response. If the message with the ID specified in the request does not exist, did not match the narrow, or was excluded via include_anchor=false, this will be false.

  • history_limited: boolean

    Whether the message history was limited due to plan restrictions. This flag is set to true only when the oldest messages(found_oldest) matching the narrow is fetched.

  • messages: (object)[]

    An array of message objects, each containing the following fields:

    • avatar_url: string | null

      The URL of the user's avatar. Can be null only if client_gravatar was passed, which means that the user has not uploaded an avatar in Zulip, and the client should compute the gravatar URL by hashing the user's email address itself for this user.

    • client: string

      A Zulip "client" string, describing what Zulip client sent the message.

    • content: string

      The content/body of the message.

    • content_type: string

      The HTTP content_type for the message content. This will be text/html or text/x-markdown, depending on whether apply_markdown was set.

    • display_recipient: string | (object)[]

      Data on the recipient of the message; either the name of a stream or a dictionary containing basic data on the users who received the message.

    • edit_history: (object)[]

      An array of objects, with each object documenting the changes in a previous edit made to the the message, ordered chronologically from most recent to least recent edit.

      Not present if the message has never been edited or if the realm has disabled viewing of message edit history.

      Every object will contain user_id and timestamp.

      The other fields are optional, and will be present or not depending on whether the stream, topic, and/or message content were modified in the edit event. For example, if only the topic was edited, only prev_topic and topic will be present in addition to user_id and timestamp.

      • prev_content: string

        Only present if message's content was edited.

        The content of the message immediately prior to this edit event.

      • prev_rendered_content: string

        Only present if message's content was edited.

        The rendered HTML representation of prev_content.

      • prev_rendered_content_version: integer

        Only present if message's content was edited.

        The Markdown processor version number for the message immediately prior to this edit event.

      • prev_stream: integer

        Only present if message's stream was edited.

        The stream ID of the message immediately prior to this edit event.

      • prev_topic: string

        Only present if message's topic was edited.

        The topic of the message immediately prior to this edit event.

        Changes: New in Zulip 5.0 (feature level 118). Previously, this field was called prev_subject; clients are recommended to rename prev_subject to prev_topic if present for compatibility with older Zulip servers.

      • stream: integer

        Only present if message's stream was edited.

        The ID of the stream containing the message immediately after this edit event.

        Changes: New in Zulip 5.0 (feature level 118).

      • timestamp: integer

        The UNIX timestamp for the edit.

      • topic: string

        Only present if message's topic was edited.

        The topic of the message immediately after this edit event.

        Changes: New in Zulip 5.0 (feature level 118).

      • user_id: integer | null

        The ID of the user that made the edit.

        Will be null only for edit history events predating March 2017.

        Clients can display edit history events where this is null as modified by either the sender (for content edits) or an unknown user (for topic edits).

    • id: integer

      The unique message ID. Messages should always be displayed sorted by ID.

    • is_me_message: boolean

      Whether the message is a /me status message

    • last_edit_timestamp: integer

      The UNIX timestamp for when the message was last edited, in UTC seconds.

      Not present if the message has never been edited.

    • reactions: (object)[]

      Data on any reactions to the message.

      • emoji_name: string

        Name of the emoji.

      • emoji_code: string

        A unique identifier, defining the specific emoji codepoint requested, within the namespace of the reaction_type.

      • reaction_type: string

        A string indicating the type of emoji. Each emoji reaction_type has an independent namespace for values of emoji_code.

        Must be one of the following values:

        • unicode_emoji : In this namespace, emoji_code will be a dash-separated hex encoding of the sequence of Unicode codepoints that define this emoji in the Unicode specification.

        • realm_emoji : In this namespace, emoji_code will be the ID of the uploaded custom emoji.

        • zulip_extra_emoji : These are special emoji included with Zulip. In this namespace, emoji_code will be the name of the emoji (e.g. "zulip").

      • user_id: integer

        The ID of the user who added the reaction.

        Changes: New in Zulip 3.0 (feature level 2). The user object is deprecated and will be removed in the future.

      • user: object

        Dictionary with data on the user who added the reaction, including the user ID as the id field. Note that reactions data received from the events API has a slightly different user dictionary format, with the user ID field called user_id instead.

        Changes: Deprecated and to be removed in a future release once core clients have migrated to use the adjacent user_id field, which was introduced in Zulip 3.0 (feature level 2). Clients supporting older Zulip server versions should use the user ID mentioned in the description above as they would the user_id field.

        • id: integer

          ID of the user.

        • email: string

          Email of the user.

        • full_name: string

          Full name of the user.

        • is_mirror_dummy: boolean

          Whether the user is a mirror dummy.

    • recipient_id: integer

      A unique ID for the set of users receiving the message (either a stream or group of users). Useful primarily for hashing.

    • sender_email: string

      The Zulip display email address of the message's sender.

    • sender_full_name: string

      The full name of the message's sender.

    • sender_id: integer

      The user ID of the message's sender.

    • sender_realm_str: string

      A string identifier for the realm the sender is in. Unique only within the context of a given Zulip server.

      E.g. on example.zulip.com, this will be example.

    • stream_id: integer

      Only present for stream messages; the ID of the stream.

    • subject: string

      The topic of the message. Currently always "" for private messages, though this could change if Zulip adds support for topics in private message conversations.

      The field name is a legacy holdover from when topics were called "subjects" and will eventually change.

    • submessages: (string)[]

      Data used for certain experimental Zulip integrations.

    • timestamp: integer

      The UNIX timestamp for when the message was sent, in UTC seconds.

    • topic_links: (object)[]

      Data on any links to be included in the topic line (these are generated by custom linkification filters that match content in the message's topic.)

      Changes: This field contained a list of urls before Zulip 4.0 (feature level 46).

      New in Zulip 3.0 (feature level 1). Previously, this field was called subject_links; clients are recommended to rename subject_links to topic_links if present for compatibility with older Zulip servers.

      • text: string

        The original link text present in the topic.

      • url: string

        The expanded target url which the link points to.

    • type: string

      The type of the message: stream or private.

    • flags: (string)[]

      The user's message flags for the message.

    • match_content: string

      Only present if keyword search was included among the narrow parameters.

      HTML content of a queried message that matches the narrow, with <span class="highlight"> elements wrapping the matches for the search keywords.

    • match_subject: string

      Only present if keyword search was included among the narrow parameters.

      HTML-escaped topic of a queried message that matches the narrow, with <span class="highlight"> elements wrapping the matches for the search keywords.

Example response(s)

A typical successful JSON response may look like:

{
    "anchor": 21,
    "found_anchor": true,
    "found_newest": true,
    "messages": [
        {
            "avatar_url": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/6d8cad0fd00256e7b40691d27ddfd466?d=identicon&version=1",
            "client": "populate_db",
            "content": "<p>Security experts agree that relational algorithms are an interesting new topic in the field of networking, and scholars concur.</p>",
            "content_type": "text/html",
            "display_recipient": [
                {
                    "email": "hamlet@zulip.com",
                    "full_name": "King Hamlet",
                    "id": 4,
                    "is_mirror_dummy": false
                },
                {
                    "email": "iago@zulip.com",
                    "full_name": "Iago",
                    "id": 5,
                    "is_mirror_dummy": false
                },
                {
                    "email": "prospero@zulip.com",
                    "full_name": "Prospero from The Tempest",
                    "id": 8,
                    "is_mirror_dummy": false
                }
            ],
            "flags": [
                "read"
            ],
            "id": 16,
            "is_me_message": false,
            "reactions": [],
            "recipient_id": 27,
            "sender_email": "hamlet@zulip.com",
            "sender_full_name": "King Hamlet",
            "sender_id": 4,
            "sender_realm_str": "zulip",
            "subject": "",
            "submessages": [],
            "timestamp": 1527921326,
            "topic_links": [],
            "type": "private"
        },
        {
            "avatar_url": "https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/6d8cad0fd00256e7b40691d27ddfd466?d=identicon&version=1",
            "client": "populate_db",
            "content": "<p>Wait, is this from the frontend js code or backend python code</p>",
            "content_type": "text/html",
            "display_recipient": "Verona",
            "flags": [
                "read"
            ],
            "id": 21,
            "is_me_message": false,
            "reactions": [],
            "recipient_id": 20,
            "sender_email": "hamlet@zulip.com",
            "sender_full_name": "King Hamlet",
            "sender_id": 4,
            "sender_realm_str": "zulip",
            "stream_id": 5,
            "subject": "Verona3",
            "submessages": [],
            "timestamp": 1527939746,
            "topic_links": [],
            "type": "stream"
        }
    ],
    "msg": "",
    "result": "success"
}