documentation for Kaggle API *within* python?-ThrowExceptions

Exception or error:

I want to write a python script that downloads a public dataset from

The Kaggle API is written in python, but almost all of the documentation and resources that I can find are on how to use the API in command line, and very little on how to use the kaggle library within python.

Some users seem to know how to do this, see for example several answers to this question, but the hints are not enough to resolve my specific issue.

Namely, I have a script that looks like this:

from kaggle.api.kaggle_api_extended import KaggleApi

api = KaggleApi('content of my json metadata file')

file = api.datasets_download_file(

I have come up with this by looking at the method’s signature:
api.datasets_download_file(owner_slug, dataset_slug, file_name, **kwargs)

I get the following error:

UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0xa1 in position 12: invalid start byte

Beyond the solution to this specific problem, I would be really happy to know how to go about troubleshooting errors with the Kaggle library, other than going through the code itself. In fact, perhaps the issue has nothing to do with utf-encoding, but I don’t know how to figure this out. What if it is just that the filename is wrong, or something as silly as this?

The csv file is nothing special: three columns, first is timestamp, the other two are integers.

How to solve:

I published a blog post that explains most of the common use cases of competition, datasets and kernel interactions.

Here are the steps involved in using the Kaggle API from Python.

Setting up API Key

Go to your Kaggle account Tab<username>/account
and click ‘Create API Token’. A file named kaggle.json will be downloaded. Move this file in to ~/.kaggle/ folder in Mac and Linux or to C:\Users\.kaggle\ on windows.

Alternatively, you can populate KAGGLE_USERNAME and KAGGLE_KEY environment variables with values from kaggle.json to get the api to authenticate.

Authenticating With API Server

 from kaggle.api.kaggle_api_extended import KaggleApi
 api = KaggleApi()

Downloading Datasets

# Download all files of a dataset
# Signature: dataset_download_files(dataset, path=None, force=False, quiet=True, unzip=False)

# downoad single file
#Signature: dataset_download_file(dataset, file_name, path=None, force=False, quiet=True)
api.dataset_download_file('avenn98/world-of-warcraft-demographics','WoW Demographics.csv')

Downloading Competition Files

# Download all files for a competition
# Signature: competition_download_files(competition, path=None, force=False, quiet=True)

# Download single file for a competition
# Signature: competition_download_file(competition, file_name, path=None, force=False, quiet=False)

Submitting to competitions

# Signature: competition_submit(file_name, message, competition,quiet=False)
api.competition_submit('gender_submission.csv','API Submission','titanic')

Retrieving Leader Board

# Signature: competition_view_leaderboard(id, **kwargs)
leaderboard = api.competition_view_leaderboard('titanic')


You can check the implementation of the Kaggle API

But if you are lazy you can just install kaggle on your server
pip install kaggle.

And to download a whole competition you may call this from python.

import os
os.system('kaggle competitions download -c "dogs-vs-cats-redux-kernels-edition"')

Further, check the docs

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