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Learner II

API Hangs Until Course is Visited via Browser

Hi all,

I wrote a pretty rudimentary Python script that finds a course's root folder ID then upload files to it via the ZIP File Importer API. I noticed that the "" API sometimes responds with nothing, so the script will wait a bit and try the request again if that happens. I noticed that trying again isn't so successful at times until I access the course via my browser. For some reason, once I access the course through the browser, Canvas suddenly starts passing back the expected response through the API. Is there a reason why accessing the course via my browser would kickstart the Canvas API?

Thanks in advance!


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4 Replies
Community Member

This is a shot in the dark and I will offer it since no one has given you anything...

But does the user you are authenticated as have permissions to add files to that course folder? Maybe the event that is triggering the file to be added is some local authentication.

Thanks for reply, Matt! The token I'm using belongs to my admin account, which isn't enrolled as a user in any of the courses, but it does have the appropriate file permissions.

Community Coach
Community Coach


I am going through having a look at some of the early days in the Canvas Developers group, and checking in to see if older enquiries have been answered. I also noticed there hasn’t been any discussion on this question in quite some time.

I am wondering, were you ever able to resolve this? I am hoping I can assume that it is well and truly resolved by now, but if not, please let us know and we can certainly have another look. Alternatively, if have some insights you may be able to share for others that would be awesome too!

I will mark this as assumed answered for the time being, however, by all means please let us know if you still have an outstanding question and we will take a peek!


Hi Stuart,

I originally needed this to upload a standard syllabus to multiple courses. I ended up just uploading HTML en masse to multiple courses. Blueprints also replaces what I wanted to do.

If you're interested in the script I was using, please view it below (I am not a programmer so the code is probably terrible). The script would hang on the sleep until I actually visited the page in a browser.

import requests
import time

HEADERS = {'Authorization':'Bearer XXXXXXX'}

li = []

count = 0

for s in li:
z = []
while z == []:
folderIDAPI = "" % (s)
payload = {}
r = requests.get(folderIDAPI, headers = HEADERS, data=payload)
z = r.json()
print s
if z == []:
time.sleep (30)

for i in z:
if i['name'] == 'course files':

coursefilesURL = i['id']
print coursefilesURL

ZIPFileImporter = "" % (s)
payload = {'migration_type':'zip_file_importer',
'settings[file_url]':'', 'settings[folder_id]': coursefilesURL } #I used Dropbox to upload files - this works fine with other Caniverse stuff
r =, headers = HEADERS, data=payload)
print s + " SUCCESS"
count += 1
print count