Mark Soper
Software Engineer
Cambridge, MA

Node.js Client for Runkeeper's Health Graph API

Runkeeper is a service that improves your fitness experience through the mobile device you probably already carry when you go for a run, bike ride, etc. It tracks your workout in a bunch of helpful ways, but really excels at making solo sports training a more social experience. Runkeeper is used heavily by a group of Boston tech cyclists and on a recent ride we cooked up an idea for a service that combines charitable donation with fitness training in a new way. With the recently announced Health Graph API opening Runkeeper to development, we set out to hack something up.

Why Node.js for a Startup Project?

Having used Node.js for a couple of contract projects, it seemed well-suited for this, a startupish side-project with a lot of uncertainty about the target we're trying to hit. Node.js is great for this situation because it means I can think about the overall architecture for the service in a single, javascript-based context. Why is this valuable? For example, decisions like whether to build a single-page app or a render pages more traditionally from the server can be made with less concern for future switching-costs because (if done carefully) most of the page-building logic can be re-used between browser and server.

Creating a Node.js Module for the API

We needed to create a way to bind to the Health Graph API from Node.js, so it made sense to package this wrapper as an open-source Node.js module. The Node.js Client for the Runkeeper Health Graph API is now available in an immature but functional state via Github, with npm distribution likely to follow. I welcome comments, feedback, bug reports, enhancement pull requests, etc.

What's the Startup Idea?

We're keeping the idea very hush-hush. The only thing we can talk about right now is that the user experience will not require or even encourage the wearing of mobile phone outfits for long endurance workouts.

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