While this post is targeted at attendees of the September 2012 Quantified Self conference in Palo Alto, even if you’re not attending you still might find some useful Health Graph information and development tips.
Welcome Quantified Self attendees and hackers! You’re in for a great weekend of learning and networking. And hopefully plenty of fun!
Here are the sessions where I’ll be representing RunKeeper:
- “Hacking APIs” breakout session, Saturday 10:30AM – Beau Gunderson (@beaugunderson) of Singly and I will be discussing APIs for self quantification and hackery. We hope to have a lively discussion with you and each other, examining APIs for QS from every angle.
- RunKeeper & Health Graph office hour, Saturday 1:30PM – I’ll be available to discuss Health Graph development and answer any questions you may have.
I will also be attending as many of our partners’ sessions as I can, while hopefully having lots of time to share ideas and make new connections. Please contact me (@billday) if you’d like to get together at the conference.
To prepare for the conference, or begin using the Health Graph directly on your own, you should start by watching this high level overview of the Health Graph platform:
For a quick primer on developing with the Health Graph API, click through the more technical presentation below:
All Health Graph partners are required to follow the Health Graph API Policies.
You can access more technical details on the RESTful Health Graph API by clicking here. Experiment and prototype with the API using the Health Graph Developer’s Console (click here to load the console).
When you’re ready to start your app in earnest, visit the RunKeeper Partner page and click “Connect To Our API“. From there you can fill out the form to register your new Health Graph integrated app, service, or device.
Click here to learn about authorization removal callbacks before providing your callback URL on the form. If you will be reading data out of the Health Graph for accounts other than your own app registering account, you should also request Read permission on the form, being sure you give a detailed explanation of what you will do with that data once you’ve accessed it. Likewise, if you would like to ask users for permission to retain their Health Graph data across deauthorizations and/or edit health information for authorizing users, please request permission(s) on the form.
Need some inspiration to get your developer juices flowing? Check out some of the applications built and deployed using the Health Graph API, available from the RunKeeper Apps page (click here). You can also access an archive of third party libraries, wrappers, and bindings which might make your Health Graph API-based development easier by clicking here. And there’s more information on how app and library partners are taking advantage of the Health Graph via our Health Graph partner profiles series on the blog.
One more tip: Click here to learn how to export your own user data from the Health Graph; useful for programmable self hacks as well as backups and parsing your data to re-upload into a test account via the Health Graph API.
Now that you know how to use the Health Graph, go build something great!
Running Club app (@runningclubapp) lets you do virtual runs (and bike rides and walks) with friends that are physically located elsewhere during the run. By integrating with the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi), Running Club has guaranteed that you can store and use your run data on your platform of choice and with other activity tracking apps such as RunKeeper’s own (@runkeeper).
Bill Day: Please tell us about yourself and your app.
Eric Piazza: I’ve been a software developer for a little over ten years.
Most people assume that I am also an avid runner, but actually the opposite is true: I have a hard time getting motivated to run. But this lack of motivation was actually the reason I got the idea for the app. I found that the only time I would get out and run consistently was when I had a “reason” to run. Joining a local running club with some friends was a great motivator, but with two young kids and work piling up, I found I was missing more and more runs. With all the technology available in mobile phones I thought “Why can’t I just run with my friends through the phone?”. I got together with some colleagues and about nine months later the “Running Club App” was born!
BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use your Running Club app?
EP: The Running Club app can be thought of as a “virtual running club” where people can schedule live, interactive runs with friends and other runners around the country. What makes Running Club unique from other apps is this live functionality, where users can actually see their progress compared to others during a run, and have a live group chat with everyone before and afterwards. Running Club uses a “dot race” style visualization to show how far everyone in the activity has run in real-time.
Note also that the Running Club app can also be used for other activities such as Cycling or Walking.
BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?
EP: I am also a RunKeeper user, and during our development I saw a newsletter featuring a handful of apps from the RunKeeper app section. I knew that integrating Running Club with Health Graph would be a great way to get existing RunKeeper users to use our app, while allowing them to continue to track their data using RunKeeper.
BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting your business?
EP: The benefits of the Health Graph are obvious.
From our perspective, we are able to better reach our target audience, both through visibility on the RunKeeper app pages, and also through the Health Graph posts themselves. When a user posts a result from our app to the Health Graph, all of their friends can see they are using the Running Club app, and hopefully they will turn around and try it themselves. RunKeeper users benefit as well since they have the ability to use Running Club, but keep their run data in their existing system.
BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use?
EP: We use the feature for posting activity results.
BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?
EP: It’s a really innovative idea that allows smaller apps like us tap into the huge RunKeeper community.
The API was easy to use and integrate. The only change I’d like to see at the moment is to allow a post without actually providing activity data (an informational post). For example, for Facebook and Twitter, when someone signs up for an activity, they can automatically post information about the upcoming activity, something like “John is running 5K at 7:00 PM tonight, join him *live* in the Running Club App”. We are not able to make a similar post to the Health Graph platform because results information is required.
BD: Can you share any future plans for Running Club? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about? Does the Health Graph play a role in that, and if so, how?
EP: We are currently working on Running Club 2.0, which will include some really neat new individual features as well as voice updates as you run.
BD: Is there anything else we should know about you or your application?
EP: You really have to try a group run to fully appreciate the Running Club app. There is nothing else like our app on the market, and the social experience you get from running “with” your friends in other parts of the country, or meeting a new running partner is extremely satisfying.
To give you an example, the other day I was in a 5K run with a friend from New York, and a friend across the world in Dubai. I knew both these guys but they didn’t know each other. We ran a 5K, and they both finished within 5 seconds of each other (they left me in the dust). They liked the motivation that they got from each other and have been scheduling runs together on a regular basis since then.