RunKeeper hackathon recap

What happens when you give the RunKeeper crew two days to let imaginations run wild? A whole lot of awesome, I tell ya!

Our product team is always five steps ahead in terms of planning awesome updates to the app, but in the process, it seems each developer has some sort of other dream RunKeeper project they’d love work on if given the time. We decided to set two work days aside for engineers (and others throughout the company) to try to bring those to reality.

The community had lots of interesting ideas on what would make it into our first-ever hackathon, and many of the resulting hacks lined up with your hopes! There was a simple start widget for the home and lock screens on Android, much-improved data visualizations for your fitness reports, refreshed technology for GPS tracking, in-app strength training tracking, a pretty new website, and some ridiculously fun and motivating audio cues. And a few other things that are internal and top secret—for now :).

We’re cranking hard to turn some of these hacks into actual RunKeeper updates and features, so stay tuned! And in the meantime, the pictures and videos below are definitely worth (more than a) thousand words.

Kicking off some collaboration

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Jacked Jim gears up for his commercial debut in the RoidKeeper strength training promotional video

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This team gave a whole new meaning to the term long hours. (And garnished some awesome prizes in the process)

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Makers of the aforementioned awesome audio cues hack demo their goods

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A little hack to get some more real-time insights into our community

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Working to build the perfect GPS algorithm

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And this video really speaks to the need for that widget hack

One of our many rocking trophies

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Cross-posted from the RunKeeper blog.

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RunKeeper hackathon is on!

I’m very excited to have helped organize and be MCing this week’s first ever RunKeeper (@RunKeeper) internal hackathon!

Watch for posts to our @HealthGraphAPI Twitter account throughout the hackathon and for a wrap-up of all the goings-on here after we see what amazing things our teams build. And as always, please remember to:
Keep calm and hackathon!

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist & PM for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


Health Graph Hacking 101 updated

I’ve updated our Health Graph platform (@healthgraphapi) overview slides for recent developments and new resources.

The latest slides are available on Slideshare:

Health Graph Hacking 101 from Bill Day

Changes to the slide deck include:

  • Updated Health Graph platform stats for growth in users, partners, and data
  • Added links to set-based APIs (after removing links to now-deprecated corresponding discrete measurements)
  • Asked all developers to please read through and follow the Health Graph Best Practices as they develop and prepare to deploy their integrated apps, services, and devices

Health Graph Best Practices include exposing RunKeeper as part of your in-app experience

Please take a few minutes to review the slides and let us know if you have any questions. Thanks and happy hacking!

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


RunKeeper at Quantified Self

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!

This post will walk you through RunKeeper and Health Graph platform related Quantified Self sessions, then provide key information and procedures you need to use the Health Graph.

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:

Health Graph Hacking 101

View more presentations from Bill Day

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.

When you encounter issues, you can ask questions and join in the developer conversation by visiting the Health Graph discussion group. You can also reach our team on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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!

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


Health Graph API additions

We’ve made several recent additions to the Health Graph API (@healthgraphapi) based upon partner feedback and requests.

Recently added fields include:

  • source – string added to Fitness Activities, Background Activities, Nutrition, Sleep, Diabetes Measurements, and Weight portions of the Health Graph API; this provides the name of the application that last modified the given activity or measurement; see documentation for details.
  • is_live – boolean added to Fitness Activities to indicate whether the activity is currently being tracked via RunKeeper Live; note that this field will report ‘false‘ until at least one GPS point for the Live activity is received (this should occur immediately upon beginning the Live activity, but may be delayed up to several seconds if it takes longer than normal for GPS hardware to acquire a sufficient GPS signal).
  • userID – integer added to each team member entry from Street Team GET /team response to allow developers to more easily access team member account details (assuming member has authorized the calling app).
  • past activities are now available in a summary form that is more conducive to bandwidth-constrained environments; search for ‘summary’ in the Fitness Activities docs to learn more.
  • blood markers – a number of additional markers have been added to the General Measurements portion of the Health Graph API; for the complete list of what’s now available, please refer to documentation for General Measurements and Diabetes portions of the API.

Please let us know if you have any questions about these API updates by leaving a comment here or on this Health Graph discussion group thread (click here to access).

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


ShapeUp Club brings deep nutrition data to the Health Graph

ShapeUp Club (@shapeup_club), one of the top three teams from last month’s Health Hack Day in Stockholm, recently launched the integration of their popular calorie counter with the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi). Learn how users of RunKeeper, ShapeUp Club, and other Health Graph partner apps such as Withings (@withings) are all benefitting from the collaboration.

BD: Please tell us about yourself and ShapeUp Club.

ShapeUp Club: Hi! We are Tove and Martin, the founders of ShapeUp Club. We built the original ShapeUp Club app back in 2008 as a side project during our studies in computer science (Martin) and biomedicine (Tove). By combining our knowledge we created ShapeUp Club – an interactive calorie counter that you carry in your pocket. A winning concept when it comes to weight loss.

In the beginning we planned to run this project in parallel with work and school. But we realized pretty fast that wouldn’t work, ShapeUp Club demanded too much time. The hobby became our job (hurray!) and today we are a team of five people working fulltime on ShapeUp Club.

BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use ShapeUp Club?

SC: ShapeUp Club is a calorie counter for iPhone, Android, and web. Get a personal weight loss plan, track nutrition, exercise, and weight. Get shaped up with ShapeUp Club now!

BD: Can you tell us a bit about your users? How many do you have? How active are they? What kinds of things do they do with ShapeUp Club?

SC: Our app has been downloaded more than 1.7 million times. We have achieved top 10 App Store-placements in countries all over the world. ShapeUp Club has more than 350,000 active users per month and we are growing with 5,000 new members a day.

Daily feedback from our users proves our concept: The average users loses about 9 lbs. We also have a lot of success stories about users who lost more than 100 lbs. (Wow!)

Based on body features (such as weight and height), age, and daily activity level, ShapeUp Club calculates a personal weight loss plan for each user. The user then follows this plan by tracking what they eat and how much they exercise every day. A color-coordinated calorie bar visually displays how many more or fewer calories the user should eat each day to reach their target weight. A yellow bar indicates you should keep eating (need more calories for your goal), a green bar indicates you’ve eaten the perfect amount for the day, and a red bar indicates you’ve eaten too much that day.

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?

SC: We attended Health Hack Day in Stockholm in May. Bill Day from RunKeeper was there to present on the Health Graph platform and serve as a jury member at the hackathon. We had already heard a lot about the API, and were excited to try it out.

During the hack we created ShapeUp Club Challenge, which would let the ShapeUp Club users connect, compete, and compare progress with each other. The API was super easy to integrate with our code, and we managed to create an app ready for launch in just twenty-four hours. The achievement placed us third in the competition.

A few weeks after the hackathon and our first encounter with the Health Graph, we are proud to announce that ShapeUp Club is now connected to Health Graph! As a first step we are letting our users import their RunKeeper and Withings data into ShapeUp Club, as well as upload their nutrition information from ShapeUp Club into the Health Graph.

BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting your business?

SC: The combination of ShapeUp Club (nutrition tracking), RunKeeper (exercise tracking), and Withings (weight tracking) is perfect for people who wish to lose weight. Nutrition, exercise, and weight are the three key values people consider when trying to lose weight. By making the tracking of these three factors friction free we believe we are one step closer to the creation of the perfect and sustainable weight loss service. Our users have asked for this possibility for some time now, and we are so happy to finally be able to provide them with this.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?

SC: We are one of the first partners who will share deep, personalized nutrition information with the Health Graph. We are also letting our users access weight and exercise information from other apps as mentioned above.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?

SC: The possibilities to very easily combine different services with your own service and health tool is perfect. The API is easy to use and fast to integrate. The only change we would like to see is more focus on the nutrition part of the Health Graph. There’s a lot of more information we could share with the Health Graph if some additional fields were included in the API.

BD: Can you share any future plans for ShapeUp 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?

SC: We are planning integration and partnerships with other great Health Graph integrated services.

We also want to improve ShapeUp Club core features. Integration of social tools is a next step, bringing our users closer together, making it possible to interact, motivate, and share information with each other. We believe this will create a whole new weight loss experience. Challenges, recipes, and groups are other things we are planning.

BD: Is there anything else we should know about you or your application?

SC: If you are serious about losing weight, ShapeUp Club is the perfect tool to help. It’s knowledge, inspiration, and motivation in your pocket. Download ShapeUp Club now and join our fast growing community! For news and more information about us, check out our blog at http://blog.shapeupclub.com/.

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


Weighty makes weight and fat percentage entry simple

Some of the best Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) partner apps are built to solve a developer’s own health and fitness issues. Case in point: Weighty, a free mobile app for quickly and easily tracking your weight and body fat percentage using the Health Graph. Weighty creator Frank Van Rest (@frankvanrest) talks about the problem he wanted to solve with his app, and how he went about creating it, below.

Bill Day: Please tell us about yourself and your work.

Frank Van Rest: I’m a Dutch mathematician who graduated in the summer of 2011. During my studies I founded a web development company. After graduation I was in need of a new goal, and getting a regular job wasn’t a great lookout after being an entrepreneur for eight years.

While traveling I decided to target doing a full Ironman triathlon in two years. I’ve always been a basketball player and couldn’t swim, so this was a challenge. But I’ve been in training for half a year now and am getting in quite good shape!

BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use Weighty?

FVR: Weighty is a free iPhone app that makes it super easy to submit your weight and fat percentage to the Health Graph. Tracking your weight is a key step to effectively losing (or gaining) weight. I hope Weighty makes this easy and simple for everyone.

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?

FVR: As I’ve gone about my triathlon training, I wanted to add my weight and fat percentage to the same place as my activities. This was previously only possible via the RunKeeper website, which is not as easily accessible as a mobile app when I’m standing on my weight scale.

The Health Graph API made it easy for me to create such a mobile app myself! I started with the iOS library I found on github and got it (after some debugging) to working pretty quickly. (Editor’s note: A complete listing of available third-party Health Graph libraries is available by clicking here.)

BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting you?

FVR: The Health Graph makes it easy to create apps that submit data to a central health-related data repository. This cloud-based approach is very valuable for users, since combined analyses can be done. RunKeeper provides free publicity for my app by highlighting it in the Health Graph app directory and showing it in users’ FitnessFeeds when they submit their weight or fat percentage to the Health Graph.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?

FVR: After authentication, I only use the API calls to POST weight and fat percentage. In the future I want to add historical data to the app, at which point I’ll also use GET calls to read that data back from the Health Graph.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?

FVR: I like the ease of use of the API. I got a working version up and ready to test in a few hours of work.

During testing I found some small bugs in the API, but the API team fixed it quickly after contact. I’d like additional capabilities to remove and edit data records as well.

BD: If you could request any new feature from the Health Graph, what would it be? How would you use it?

FVR: My scale also gives water percentage and muscle percentage, which I would love to keep track of as well. If that were possible with the Health Graph as well, I’d implement in Weighty!

BD: Can you share any future plans for Weighty? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about? Does the Health Graph play a role in that, and if so, how?

FVR: Removing or editing weight or fat percentage records is not possible at the moment (not on the RunKeeper website and not via the Health Graph API). If a user makes a typo and enters the wrong data, it can really mess up their graphs and weekly averages. I would love to have the ability to remove records via my app (or the website). As soon as that’s possible, I’ll add historical data to the app, with the possibility to edit and delete that data as well.

BD: Is there anything else we should know about you or your application?

FVR: It’s a free iPhone app called Weighty and it’s available via http://weighty.frisb.nl. Please share your feedback via email to weighty@frisb.nl.

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.