Automation: Creating Boards, Lists, and Cards Using Python and the Trello API

Updated on December 21, 2019

Introduction

In this article, I will guide you through creating boards, lists, and cards in Trello but instead of doing all of these manually from Trello's website or mobile application, we'll do this programmatically using Python and the Trello API.

This may not make sense to you if you don't use Trello that much or if you only need to create a few cards at a time but this allows you to integrate the creation of your Trello items with your other programs. To give a few examples, I will write a few articles to give you ideas on where you can apply this automation. The following articles will be published after this one:

  • Exporting action items from Gmail emails to Trello
  • Planning vacation schedules using Trello and BeautifulSoup

Requirements

Python

I'm using Python 3.6.8 but you can use other versions. Some of the syntax could be different especially for Python 2 versions.

Trello API Key And Token

You need the key and token to connect and make requests to your Trello account. Sign in to your Trello account from the browser and follow the instructions to get your key and token. Take note of the your key and token.

Creating Boards

Replace the "your_key" and "your_token" strings in the code below with the key and token for your Trello account. The create_board() method creates a board with the given name and returns the ID of the board upon its creation.

We are returning the ID of the board created because we will use it later on to create a list within the board.

import requests
key = "your_key"
token = "your_token"


def create_board(board_name):
    url = "https://api.trello.com/1/boards/"
    querystring = {"name": board_name, "key": key, "token": token}
    response = requests.request("POST", url, params=querystring)
    board_id = response.json()["shortUrl"].split("/")[-1].strip()
    return board_id

Creating Lists

Add the method below to the same script. This one is for creating a list. As mentioned earlier, we will need the board ID to let the API know which board we want to create the list in so the method definition below takes the "board_id" as a parameter along with the "list_name".

This method will return the ID of the list created which will then be used later on to create cards within the list.

def create_list(board_id, list_name):
    url = f"https://api.trello.com/1/boards/{board_id}/lists"
    querystring = {"name": list_name, "key": key, "token": token}
    response = requests.request("POST", url, params=querystring)
    list_id = response.json()["id"]
    return list_id

Creating Cards

Add the method below to the same script. This one is for card creation. It takes the "list_id" and "card_name" as parameters.

def create_card(list_id, card_name):
    url = f"https://api.trello.com/1/cards"
    querystring = {"name": card_name, "idList": list_id, "key": key, "token": token}
    response = requests.request("POST", url, params=querystring)
    card_id = response.json()["id"]
    return card_id

Sample Automation

You can test each method out and try simple tasks like creating boards, lists, and cards but that's a bit boring. Let's try doing a simple automation based on the script we created. First, save the script as "trello.py" and create two text files of tasks that you want to appear on your board.

Below are some sample files including the script we created earlier.

trello.py

import requests
key = "your_key"
token = "your_token"


def create_board(board_name):
    url = "https://api.trello.com/1/boards/"
    querystring = {"name": board_name, "key": key, "token": token}
    response = requests.request("POST", url, params=querystring)
    board_id = response.json()["shortUrl"].split("/")[-1].strip()
    return board_id


def create_list(board_id, list_name):
    url = f"https://api.trello.com/1/boards/{board_id}/lists"
    querystring = {"name": list_name, "key": key, "token": token}
    response = requests.request("POST", url, params=querystring)
    list_id = response.json()["id"]
    return list_id


def create_card(list_id, card_name):
    url = f"https://api.trello.com/1/cards"
    querystring = {"name": card_name, "idList": list_id, "key": key, "token": token}
    response = requests.request("POST", url, params=querystring)
    card_id = response.json()["id"]
    return card_id

chores.txt

Wash the dishes
Throw out the trash
Pick-up laundry
Buy groceries
Cook dinner

work.txt

Review the code for <some task>
Test the code for <some project>
Write documentation

Tasks to Trello

Copy the code below to a file called "tasks_to_trello.py".

In this code, the following things are happening:

  • The "os" module is imported
  • The "trello.py" file is imported together with its methods
  • The board "Tasks" is created
  • The "os" module's listdir() method is used to list the files in the current directory
  • The list of files are filtered in with those ending with ".txt"
  • The filename is retrieved excluding its file extension so it can be used as the list name
  • The list is created within the board, the title() method is called to capitalize the list name (i.e. "work" becomes "Work")
  • The file is accessed and each line in the file is created as cards in their specific list

tasks_to_trello.py

import os
from trello import create_board, create_list, create_card


board_id = create_board("Tasks")

for filename in os.listdir():
    if filename.endswith(".txt"):
        filename = os.path.splitext(filename)[0]
        list_name = create_list(board_id, filename.title())

        with open(f"{filename}.txt", "r") as txt_file:
            for card_name in txt_file.readlines():
                create_card(list_name, card_name)

Finally

When you access your Trello, you will find the board, lists, and cards you created like in the screenshot below. There are so many things you can do with this simple program (trello.py) if you combine it with other programs that fetch information from several sources. As I mentioned earlier, I will be posting separate articles on the following:

  • Exporting action items from Gmail emails to Trello
  • Planning vacation schedules using Trello and BeautifulSoup

It's all in Trello now, yay!
It's all in Trello now, yay!

© 2019 Joann Mistica

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