The Algorithmia Client

Every Algorithm is an API Endpoint: it has a unique URL which accepts and returns JSON. While you could chose to assemble and send raw JSON (we'll talk a bit about this in the next lesson), there's an easier way: the Algorithmia Client.

Installing the Client

The Client is simply a library, implemented in most popular programming languages, which provides a standardized, ergonomic way of calling any Algorithm. Installation is simple and lightweight -- e.g. "pip install Algorithmia" in Python, or adding the script in browser-side JS. To find your language-specific installation instructions, either find an Algorithm and scroll down to its "Install and Use" section, or take a look at the language-specific client guides.

Using the Client

The Client's syntax is nearly identical across all languages, with only a few minor differences (for example, the JS client necessarily uses callbacks). Using Python as an example, the main components are:

  1. import Algorithmia - includes the Algorithmia library.
  2. client = Algorithmia.client("YOUR_API_KEY") - create a Client instance, using one of the keys from the API Keys tab of your account page (more info: Your Account).
  3. algo = client.algo(nlp/SentimentAnalysis/1.0.5') - get ready to call version 1.0.5 of the Algorithm "nlp/SentimentAnalysis". If a version number is omitted, the most recently published version of the Algorithm will be used.
  4. (optional) algo.set_options(timeout=300) - set any optional parameters for how this call should be made (in this case, we're setting the timeout to 300 seconds, which is the default anyway).
  5. algo.pipe(input) - run the Algorithm, sending it appropriate input. This might be text, a number, an array, or even a dictionary -- all depending on what the specific Algorithm you're running expects. See the Algorithm's Page for a sample input, and check the "docs" tab of that page for more examples. More info about this in the next section.
  6. do whatever you want with the result returned by algo.pipe() - but start by printing it, so you can see how the results are structured (these are also documented on each Algorithm's Page).

Soon, we'll learn more about what the Input and Output of an Algorithm call look like.  But first, let's take a look at two other ways of calling Algorithms: cURL, and the the CLI.