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.


Gym Hero makes tracking workouts easy with the Health Graph

In honor of our participation in Health Hack Day (@healthhackday) in Stockholm later this week (watch this space for slides and more details), I’d like to feature some European Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) partners over the next couple of weeks. This time, let’s look at how one of our newest strength training partners, Berlin-based Gym Hero (@gymheroapp), is using a streamlined approach to workout tracking coupled with the Health Graph to help people improve their fitness.

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

Gym Hero: We are Jannik and Jannis, the founders of Big Mike Alright, the small but nice company behind Gym Hero. Gym Hero is currently a side project we are working on in addition to our day jobs and college. We both love sports but are especially addicted to kitesurfing!

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

Gym Hero is a gym workout tracking app that learns from you while staying out of your way as much as possible. The user interface is streamlined and optimized to be used while you work out, even with shaky hands. Workout routines are automatically learned as you go, so you never have to enter a weight or name twice. You are free to name your workouts and exercises however you like – full flexibility instead of endless searching and browsing in predefined, fixed lists. Each of your workouts gets its own webpage (if you want) with all the details, so you can share, compare and discuss with friends.

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

We both have been using Runkeeper tracking for our cardio activities for quite some time now. Being data and statistics junkies, our weight goes into the Health Graph via a Withings scale, and our blood pressure is monitored and sent to the Health Graph via a Withings blood pressure monitor. We track our runs and the bicycle commute to work with RunKeeper.

Because we also love to work out we wanted to add our gym workouts to our Runkeeper profile as well. When we heard about the Health Graph API we wanted to join. Quantify yourself!

BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting Gym Hero and your users?

The Health Graph community is a place where sports enthusiasts of all types meet to motivate each other, exchange, discuss and most of all track and measure their performance. It’s a great place to collect all your sports and health related data. So obviously, we wanted to allow our community to join the Health Graph family and vice versa.

And for the programmers reading this: The Health Graph really is easy to use and embed into your applications. Go try it out!

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

Since Gym Hero focuses on doing one thing only, but doing it really well, we use the strength training portion of the Health Graph API. We feed full workouts including workout notes and exercise names into the Health Graph. We don’t track cardio or time based training (yet).

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

We love the idea behind the Health Graph. Bringing together such a great variety of health data is simply awesome. On top of that it’s a breeze to integrate into other applications. Just keep up the great work!

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

We would like to see a little more flexibility when it comes to defining muscle groups for each exercise. Our basic idea for Gym Hero is to give our users full freedom in naming their exercises/workouts. We would love for this to also be possible for muscle grouping.

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

We’ve been updating every five to six weeks with new features and improvements, but there are a lot of updates still to come. We will extend the workout summary view for a better performance check, add data sync with iCloud and a workout timer to name only a few upcoming features.

Our users can also request and vote for new features. They can do this by clicking on the speech bubble in the app or by going here. Please help us build the finest workout app ever by making your requests. We love to hear from our users!

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

If you want to track your gym activities and are looking for a slick app which is not blown up with useless stuff check out Gym Hero. Never leave without flexing!

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


OneHealthScore snapshots your health using the Health Graph

Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) partner Wellframe (@wellframe) recently launched OneHealthScore. Read our interview with Jacob Sattelmair (@jakesatt) for more on how Wellframe is using the Health Graph to reframe the health discussion for consumers.

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

Jacob Sattelmair: I am the co-founder of Wellframe, the company behind OneHealthScore. We’re a health data science startup consisting of doctors, scientists, and engineers working to better leverage data to get people engaged in their health.

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

JS: OneHealthScore is a Health Graph app that gives you real-time insight into how your physical activity impacts your health. Your score is based on the most advanced scientific research on the health benefits of physical activity. Keeping track of your score is a great way to stay motivated and make sure you are protecting your health.

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

JS: As our team’s first project, we were looking for an opportunity to apply scientific models to health behavior data in a way that would help people get new insights and be more engaged in their health. The Health Graph API was the most obvious place to start to achieve this goal.

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

JS: Using the Health Graph is a great opportunity for us to access motivated users’ health behavior data and experiment with new ways of making that data meaningful and motivational to them.

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

JS: To start we are focusing on physical activities — fitness and strength activities to be specific — as we chose to first model the impact of physical activity on health. However, we may eventually expand our model to include other data types available through the Health Graph, such as weight and nutritional intake.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph?

JS: We love the fact that the Health Graph enables users to collect their health data across a wide range of applications and devices, and then to consent to share that data with other applications and services that enable them to get more value from those data.

BD: Can you share any future plans for Your service? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about?

JS: We will continue to iterate on OneHealthScore, exploring new ways to give users motivational insights that encourage them to do and track more activities with RunKeeper.

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


Vitogo: A personal trainer in your pocket

We recently spoke with Arel English (@arelenglish), CEO and co-founder of Vitogo (@myvitogo), about their integration with the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) and how being a Health Graph partner is benefiting their business. Read on to learn about how Vitogo recreates what a personal trainer does for you using your iOS device and the web.

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

Arel English: Fitness has always been a really important part of my life and is something I struggled with as a kid. In college, first as an athlete and later as a coach, I learned the importance of strength training for health and fitness and achieving meaningful results. The problem is that strength training is really complicated and intimidating, so we created Vitogo to make strength training easy and fun.

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

AE: Strength training is a really important part of a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it help you look better, it’s also an important part of weight loss, reducing your risk of injury, and increasing bone density. The problem is knowing how to strength train effectively. Vitogo makes it simple. Just like a personal trainer, Vitogo assesses your fitness level and goals to give you a tailored workout program that evolves with you. It coaches you through every step of your workout, tracks your progress, and keeps you motivated with the support of your friends, other users, and rewards.

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

AE: As an avid RunKeeper user before the idea for Vitogo even existed, I used to complain that my strength training workouts didn’t count toward anything on my RunKeeper account, so when we decided to build Vitogo, the first thing we wanted to do was look into how we could have our workouts post to RunKeeper so we could get credit for all our hard work. At the time, the Health Graph API hadn’t been announced, so we were pretty excited to learn about it when we first reached out to RunKeeper about the possibility of integrating Vitogo.

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

AE: The Health Graph is a great way to aggregate everything active we’re doing online. Just like how Facebook made it easy for new services to seamlessly share information socially across the web, the Health Graph has made it really easy to seamlessly share healthy activity. Sharing healthy activity and being able to aggregate it and see the big picture makes Vitogo that much better a product, and is something we are really excited about!

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

AE: Right now we’re just publishing to the Fitness Feed and pulling Vitogo users’ RunKeeper activities. We want to quickly expand to sending calories burned and strength training statistics to the Health Graph so our users can get a more integrated experience.

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

AE: Being able to fully integrate Vitogo, a heart rate monitor, a swimming tracker, and tons of other stuff that I use to track my activities is hugely powerful, that’s what I love about the Health Graph. I’m looking forward to being able to see exactly what each service is going to publish to RunKeeper, and pull from RunKeeper, so I know for example if Vitogo is going to update my total number of calories burned, and number of activities done that month.

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

AE: Having the ability to control how individual apps post to the fitness feed would be an awesome extension of the Health Graph. We would like Vitogo to be able to post simple stories about a user’s strength training workout with the same type of control you have when deciding how your app posts to Facebook or Twitter.

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

AE: We are really excited about getting users using Vitogo and giving us feedback on what they love, and what we can do better. We want to make sure that everyone using Vitogo feels confident and in control at the gym. We’re also going to continue to improve our Health Graph integration so our users get the best total picture of their fitness.

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

AE: Vitogo is an iPhone/ iPod Touch app and a website! Using Vitogo.com is as much a part of the experience as using the app!

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


Social workouts with Fitness Tracker 90 CE and the Health Graph

Are you a developer with an idea for using the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) but no company (yet) to help you build it? Take inspiration from this week’s featured partner, Steve Chen of SJC Global, Inc., who built Fitness Tracker 90 CE (@iFitnessTracker) himself while holding down a separate full-time job. You can do it too!

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

Steve Chen: My company, SJC Global, is self owned and I am the sole employee. I do occasionally contract with other individuals as necessary, but the core of the product is all developed by myself. The company started in August 2010, and the company’s mission is to create great apps that enhance users lives. I hope to expand and grow the company’s products in the next year. My company is currently one of my many “hobbies”, as I am only able to work on it during my free time, since I also have a regular full-time job.

I have a Computer Science degree as well as an MBA and a great deal of experience working in the technology industry. I’ve worked at numerous companies throughout my career including small start-ups as well as large multi-billion dollar companies.

BD: What’s the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use your app?

SC: Fitness Tracker 90 CE is an app for your mobile device that allows you to record and monitor your workout progress. You no longer need to try and remember your workout schedule, since the app allows you to customize any routine to fit your needs. Use the app to track any 60 or 90 day workout or anything in between. Entering data is simple with the sleek user interface that is designed with speed of entry in mind. With Fitness Tracker 90 CE you know exactly how your workout is progressing given the detailed logs and elegant graphs that let you visualize your achievements. Get social with your workout by sharing your results on the RunKeeper service, or sharing your workouts on the user forums.

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

SC: I felt that integrating with RunKeeper would benefit both my existing users as well as RunKeeper users not yet using Fitness Tracker 90 CE.

I started development using the Health Graph API by going through the documentation on the developer site. I also worked closely with the RunKeeper team initially on validating some of the API requirements to ensure that they would map to my needs as well as others.

BD: How has using the Health Graph benefited your business?

SC: Having the ability for users to post their results to the RunKeeper service has helped expand the reasons why someone would purchase my app. Users tend to see the integration with the RunKeeper service as a great benefit and I am thrilled that I am now able to offer that service to them in Fitness Tracker 90 CE. Traffic to my site has started to increase with little promotion thus far, and I hope to see the traffic continue to rise as more and more announcements are made.

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

SC: Fitness Tracker 90 CE currently utilizes the strength tracking and weight measurement features of the Health Graph API. The decision to use these Health Graph features was based on what Fitness Tracker 90 CE is designed to do, and that is to allow users to track and maintain their fitness.

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

SC: The Health Graph makes it easy for any app to integrate with it through the use of the APIs. The one difficulty I found frustrating at times was that errors on the server often resulted in HTML pages coming back instead of a simple response with an error code and description. I could see the need for an HTML page result when the API is called from a web page itself, but when calling the APIs through a mobile app the result needs to be parsed out of all the HTML and it is unclear in the documentation what types of error conditions may arise.

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

SC: My first request would be a simple change to how fitness activities are recorded. Currently, there is a type “other” that may be used when defining a new fitness activity. I would like to see an optional field that would allow you to also specify the fitness activity name, as this option would allow my users to track activities such as cardio kickboxing or other workouts that don’t necessarily have individual exercises.

BD: Can you share any future plans for your app? 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: I can’t give away all my secrets, but I can say that I do plan on expanding my app to other devices in the future. The mobile industry is growing at an extraordinary rate and getting Fitness Tracker 90 CE on all mobile devices is one of my goals for 2012.

I am planning on integrating more workouts with the RunKeeper service as soon as the APIs are available that would allow me to do so. My goal is that every exercise, whether strength training related or not, that can be tracked in Fitness Tracker 90 CE should be integrated into RunKeeper.

There are also plans to add a stopwatch feature that will allow users to better monitor the time spent on fitness activities. This feature is already available through the RunKeeper API and would be something that users could look forward to seeing.

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

SC: If you are serious about working out and keeping track of your routine then definitely give Fitness Tracker 90 CE a try!

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


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