While I find Apple’s ways of locking you into their hardware questionable, I believe that attempting to lock someone into web software is unacceptable. This belief temporarily led to disappointment when I bought my Nike + iPod kit and could not readily find any XML file to manipulate or share. Surely, there had to be either a local XML file, a downloadable XML file from Nike+, or any API that developers could access. How else could we post our workout data to our blogs, share with our friends, use custom applications, or work with other devices such as Garmin’s?

Thankfully, it turns out I was only partially wrong in thinking that I had no control. Matt Mecham shows us how to get under the hood of the Nano and find out where the XML file is stored. It turns out the file is stored under:

iPod/iPod_Control/Device/Trainer/Workouts/Empeds/{Sensor ID}

This is a good start that we can build off of. In this situation, a custom program will have to be written to build a giant XML file of your entire history of runs. Essentially, the same process that happens when you synch your data to the Nike+ site. We can then parse that file and display it on our blogs. Ideally, we could eliminate this step, which leads to the goal and challenge widgets. These widgets run on your desktop, and access some sort of API. The presence of an API means that we don’t have to manage a giant XML file. Instead, we can let Nike manage that while we just query and cache data from their servers.

Even though developers have already started taking advantage of the URL that the widgets access, I still find that getting access to your data is not straightforward enough. I would like to see either a local copy of workouts stored in the iTunes directory, or for a documented, flexible API to appear on Nike’s site. Partial progress has already been made, so here’s to hoping that they open everything up in the near future.

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Ryan Campbell

Apple, Nike and Sharing on the Web by Ryan Campbell

This entry was posted 4 years ago and was filed under Notebooks.
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  1. Eric Windham · 4 years ago

    Very interesting. I just bought my Nike + iPod kit the other day, and thought how I could access my data for my personal use(website,etc). I honestly thought it would be easy. I can’t lie, though, I haven’t even taken the kit out of the box yet. I’m lazy.

    On a side note, I’d like to say that I really enjoy reading you guys’ posts. And I also appreciate the way that you are very candid with your experiences in starting your business. It makes for interesting reading. I am thinking of giving it a shot and your insight has been valuable.

  2. Mark · 4 years ago

    Wow. thanks for the mention and the link in the article! (I’ve gotten 32 hits from that link so far!)

    I actually used the official widgets to decipher the API (since it’s not documented AT ALL). It was pretty easy to parse the XML once i had the data in hand.

    One thing that makes it hard to manage the XML files locally is that the directory structure on the iPod separates each workout into a separate file. It would be nice if they all were stored in a hierarchy in the same file, but alas, Nike and Apple have to make our lives hard.

    On a positive note, look for challenges to be integrated into my wordpress widget within the month!

  3. Ryan Campbell · 4 years ago

    Eric, take it out of the box. Definitely worth it. And we’re glad you like the posts. Makes em worth writing.

    Awesome Mark. I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Keep the updates coming!