Base for Everything

To use the API, the Client class defines a high-level interface which handles authorization and creating other objects:

from import Client
client = Client()

Long-lived Defaults

When creating a Client, the user_agent argument has sensible a default (DEFAULT_USER_AGENT). However, you may over-ride it and the value will be used throughout all API requests made with the client you create.


  • For an overview of authentication in google-cloud-python, see Authentication.

  • In addition to any authentication configuration, you can also set the GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT environment variable for the Google Cloud Console project you’d like to interact with. If your code is running in Google App Engine or Google Compute Engine the project will be detected automatically. (Setting this environment variable is not required, you may instead pass the project explicitly when constructing a Client).

  • After configuring your environment, create a Client

>>> from import bigtable
>>> client = bigtable.Client()

or pass in credentials and project explicitly

>>> from import bigtable
>>> client = bigtable.Client(project='my-project', credentials=creds)

Admin API Access

If you’ll be using your client to make Instance Admin and Table Admin API requests, you’ll need to pass the admin argument:

client = bigtable.Client(admin=True)

Read-Only Mode

If, on the other hand, you only have (or want) read access to the data, you can pass the read_only argument:

client = bigtable.Client(read_only=True)

This will ensure that the READ_ONLY_SCOPE is used for API requests (so any accidental requests that would modify data will fail).

Next Step

After a Client, the next highest-level object is an Instance. You’ll need one before you can interact with tables or data.

Head next to learn about the Instance Admin API.