How do we *USE* API?

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Community Novice

We are new to Canvas, coming off of Blackboard. I've got to say, I'm kind of shocked and dismayed at how little can be accomplished via the GUI. It seems like just about every thing I ask our implementation team about doing, the answer is always "you'll need to figure out how to do it in the API." 

Batch apply/change the Grade Scheme? Do it via the API.

Batch course-copy material? Do it via the API.

Batch publish a bunch of courses? Do it via the API.

I've been sent to this page a number of times: Canvas LMS API Documentation

We do have a programmer on staff who I know can figure this out. However, he's a busy guy and has limited time to be able to spend on this. The Canvas LMS API Documentation link above doesn't really give any information on where to begin...what do we need installed on a PC to make these calls, for example?

We've asked Canvas how to do this stuff, for some baseline instruction on how to setup a PC to run the scripts, only to be told "Instructure cannot tell you that, we're not a scripting company." I don't know how they can tell us "we can't tell you how to do this" when the software seems to rely on scripting for damn-near everything.


Can someone point me to some instruction please? Is there nothing out there, some kind of baseline instruction on how to prep a PC to run a script that can run against a Canvas environment, and how to build one of these scripts, so we can make some of these batch changes that came SO EASILY in Blackboard? Surely there are schools with Canvas who don't have an army of programmers at their disposal, but still have a need to accomplish tasks that the woefully inadequate GUI can't do. What do they do?!

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Community Novice

We're still trying to figure out how to script things. For example, scripting course-copying or batch-publishing courses.

My main problem with the "Canvas Universe" is that Instructure does not do anything to help on-board people with this API thing. They send you to the API Documentation page and say "here you go." For new clients there should really be at least a little bit of hand-holding because again, not all of us are programmers.

"Here's what you need to install/configure on your computer to run this stuff."

"Here are some sample scripts that will help you accomplish some basic tasks across multiple courses at once."

I realize it's all "open standards" or whatever but that doesn't mean jack to someone like me. If Instructure is going to rely so heavily on the API for even the most basic of tasks then there should really be more out there for beginners.

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