Develop a Telegram Bot with R

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This package provides a pure R interface for the Telegram Bot API. In addition to the pure API implementation, it features a number of tools to make the development of Telegram bots with R easy and straightforward, providing an easy-to-use interface that takes some work off the programmer.


You can install from CRAN:


Or the development version from GitHub:

# install.packages("devtools")


You can quickly build a chatbot with a few lines!

If you don’t have an access token (TOKEN), please follow the steps explained below to generate one.


Updater polls for new messages using the Telegram getUpdates API method and invokes your handlers when new messages are found.

Replace TOKEN with the access token you generated.


start <- function(bot, update) {
    chat_id = update$message$chat$id,
    text = sprintf("Hello %s!", update$message$from$first_name)

updater <- Updater("TOKEN") + CommandHandler("start", start)

updater$start_polling() # Send "/start" to the bot


Webhook listens for messages POST’d to a webhook end-point URL, configured using the Telegram setWebhook API method, and invokes your handlers when new messages are received.

Note that this method requires a publicly accessible end-point which Telegram is able to access.

Replace TOKEN with the access token you generated and with your end-point’s publicly accessible URL.

Security Consideration: It is recommended that you run the Webhook server behind a reverse proxy since it needs to be publicly accessible on the internet and thus needs to be secured.


start <- function(bot, update) {
    chat_id = update$message$chat$id,
    text = sprintf("Hello %s!", update$message$from$first_name)

webhook <- Webhook("", "TOKEN") + CommandHandler("start", start)

webhook$start_server() # Send "/start" to the bot

Telegram API Methods

One of the core instances from the package is Bot, which represents a Telegram Bot. You can find a full list of the Telegram API methods implemented in its documentation (?Bot), but here there are some examples:

# Initialize bot
bot <- Bot(token = "TOKEN")

# Get bot info

# Get updates
updates <- bot$getUpdates()

# Retrieve your chat id
# Note: you should text the bot before calling `getUpdates`
chat_id <- updates[[1L]]$from_chat_id()

# Send message
  text = "foo *bold* _italic_",
  parse_mode = "Markdown"

# Send photo
  photo = ""

# Send audio
  audio = ""

# Send document
  document = ""

# Send sticker
  sticker = ""

# Send video
  video = ""

# Send gif
  animation = ""

# Send location
  latitude = 51.521727,
  longitude = -0.117255

# Send chat action
  action = "typing"

# Get user profile photos
photos <- bot$getUserProfilePhotos(user_id = chat_id)

# Download user profile photo
file_id <- photos$photos[[1L]][[1L]]$file_id
bot$getFile(file_id, destfile = "photo.jpg")

Note that you can also send local files by passing their path instead of an URL. Additionally, all methods accept their equivalent snake_case syntax (e.g. bot$get_me() is equivalent to bot$getMe()).

Generating an Access Token

To make it work, you’ll need an access TOKEN (it should look something like 123456:ABC-DEF1234ghIkl-zyx57W2v1u123ew11). If you don’t have it, you have to talk to @BotFather and follow a few simple steps (described here).

Recommendation: Following Hadley’s API guidelines it’s unsafe to type the TOKEN just in the R script. It’s better to use environment variables set in .Renviron file.

So let’s say you have named your bot RTelegramBot; you can open the .Renviron file with the R command:

file.edit(path.expand(file.path("~", ".Renviron")))

And put the following line with your TOKEN in your .Renviron:


If you follow the suggested R_TELEGRAM_BOT_ prefix convention you’ll be able to use the bot_token function (otherwise you’ll have to get these variable from Sys.getenv). Finally, restart R and you can then create the Updater object as:

updater <- Updater(token = bot_token("RTelegramBot"))

Getting Started

To get you started with, we recommend to take a look at its Wiki:

You can also check these other resources:

If you have any other doubt about the package, you can post a question on Stack Overflow under the r-telegram-bot tag or directly e-mail the package’s maintainer.


The package is in a starting phase, so contributions of all sizes are very welcome. Please: - Review our contribution guidelines to get started. - You can also help by reporting bugs.


This package is inspired by Python’s library python-telegram-bot, specially by its submodule telegram.ext.