How to access Wikipedia via WhatsApp

Some airlines allow you free access to messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp but you have to pay for WiFi. What if you could access a site like Wikipedia via a messaging app to bypass the paywall? Alex Ellis found a way using Python, the Wikipedia API, Flask, and Twillio.

You may remember a post I wrote about saving WhatsApp photos using Python and Twilio and the concept is very similar except we’re accessing a different site via an API. Alex managed to get a full page about cheese over 20 messages but said the the user experience was “also pretty rough”:

[…] maybe we’d want to allow for an easy way to get to the next page? Maybe paginating so you don’t get the full article all at once? Maybe sending a section at a time, so if you’re really just interested in the history of the harmonica, you don’t have to get to the rest of the page?

Nothing quite kills the fun of a silly side project like having to do anything real for it, and as soon as I started to read the guidelines for the WhatsApp Business API and integrating with other Meta services, I realized I wasn’t going to go through with setting this up as a publicly-available service. Feel free to set your own up, though!

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