Jikan REST 2.0 – Developers Preview + November Update

What a basic app utilizing Jikan would require would be data on any anime or manga, then furthermore on the characters and staff members. These 4 types of data are essential to any app for the masses and Jikan can now robustly cover any app developer in those areas.

 

Tl;Dr: https://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/

Note: There is no doc available for this endpoint as of yet, you’ll have to play by the data responses.

 

without further ado

It’s been a year since I started on Jikan and half a year since the REST API went up. To get this out of the way – I’m immensely excited to announce that a complete rewrite of the Jikan PHP API has been completed. Making the API more:

  • Friendly to developers for contribution
  • Cleaner responses + less bugs
  • Easier installation
  • More Robust
  • PSR-4/Autoloading

 

Now what’s left is the rewrite of the REST API. I’ve selected Lumen as the micro-framework to handle Jikan REST requests. And that’s currently in the works as I wrap my head around the features of this framework.

But my excitement could not be held back and I really wanted to see the new API in action – spitting out nicely formatted JSON without any malformed sorts of data. I quickly set up a new endpoint using the old REST API code – producing a developers endpoint.

And I hereby present: https://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/

You’ll notice a massive difference from the v1.1 or v1.2 REST version as this version of the API is equipped with the latest Jikan PHP commits. Now let me show you the possible type of requests.

 

  1. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/anime/1
  2. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/anime/1/characters_staff
  3. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/anime/1/episodes
  4. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/anime/21/episodes/1 – Episode pages are now paginated if there’s more than a 100 episodes, a key named episode_last_page will tell you how many pages the episodes page is paginated into.
  5. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/anime/21/episodes/2
  6. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/manga/1
  7. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/manga/1/characters
  8. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/person/1
  9. http://jikan.me/api/v2.0-dev/character/1

 

With these core prospects for the API being stable and robust, it’s time to focus on implementing more endpoints for scraping more data out of an anime, or the most required function – the search endpoint.

 

the success of this project

I’ve been contacted by a plethora number of developers regarding the usage/feedback/etc of this project. Everyone’s happy – I’m happy. There’s a working, easy to use API that can tell you anything about your favorite Japanese cartoon and I think that’s what matters the most.

Currently there’s a popular and active android App, namely AnYme that’s utilizing Jikan for their data, you can check them out here: https://github.com/zunjae/anYme

The usage of Jikan has been very successful – there’s a thousand of requests spanned across of hundreds of clients daily. Here’s a small chart on the usage since we hit off back in May.

jikan stats chart

 

what’s in store next?

The next foremost thing that is going to be accomplished is going to be REST v2.0. This will be based on the Lumen framework and a much faster server – thanks to a friend of mine. The base endpoint would be api.jikan.me, instead of what we’ve now.

After that – I’ll see what’s next on the agenda.

 

oh by the way

Did I mention that Jikan is now available on packagist.org/composer? You can install it as a dependency in your PHP project as simply as: composer require jikan-me/jikan 

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Jikan – The Unofficial MyAnimeList REST API

Jikan is a REST based API that fulfills the lacking requests of the official MyAnimeList API for developers. https://jikan.me


Documentation: https://jikan.me/docs

Source: https://github.com/irfan-dahir/jikan

 

Introduction

As the idea of creating my own Anime Database sparked within me, I set out to create parse data from an existing website, MyAnimeList, since I utilize it a lot for managing the content I parse through my mind. 

Read: Making My Own Anime Database – Part 1 – Making My Own Anime Database – Part 2

I was dumbfounded when I realized that the official API did not support for fetching anime or manga details. There was a way to do this via the official API but it was totally round-about. You had to use one of their API endpoints where you searched for a query and it would return a list of similar anime/manga with their details.

I could have used AniList’s API but I was already familiar with scraping data. I’ve done this before in a lot of former projects. And so I set out to develop Jikan to fulfill my parent goal; to make my own anime database. And so it took a project of it’s own.

History

Jikan was uploaded to GitHub on January the 11th with a single function of scraping anime data.

It wasn’t even called ‘Jikan’ back then, it was called the ‘Unofficial MAL API’. Quite generic, I know.

I came to terms with the name ‘Jikan’ as it was the only domain name available for the .me TLD and it’s a commonly used word in Japanese – ‘Time’. The ‘Plan A’ name was ‘Shiro’, but unfortunately everyone seemed to have hogged all the TLDs for it.

With this API, I guess you could say I’d be saving developers some … Jikan – Heh.

 


 

Enter;Jikan

Sounds like a title from the Steins;Gate multiverse.

Anyways, Jikan can provide these details from MAL simply by their ID on MAL

  • Anime
  • Manga
  • Character
  • Person

These are the implemented functions as of now. There are some further planned features.

Search Results

The official API does support this. However;

  1. The response is in XML
  2. It only shows the results of the first page

Jikan will change that by showing results for whatever page you select. And oh – it returns in JSON.

Is that it?

Mostly, yes. The reason this API was developed to provide very easy access to developers to data which isn’t supported by the official API. And there you go.

 

Get Started

So, what are you waiting for?

Head over to the documentation and get started!

https://jikan.me

Making my own Anime Database – Part 2

More than 5 months have passed since I posted about making my own Anime Database, yet it does not age. It’s time to get back. Anime Database!

Read Part 1: https://irfandahir.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/making-my-own-anime-database-part-1/

Apart from that terrible reference, it is indeed time to tell you where the anime database stands right now. But first of all, I thought it would be best to clear up what this is all really about since my former related post was just really me typing at 200wpm while breathing heavily as the idea held a cast over me.

What is this sh*t?

There’s a bunch of anime databases out there apart from MyAnimeList, such as Anime Planet, AniDB and Anime News Network to name a few. Websites like these contain anime/manga/novel entries which detail the item. It can be compared to IMDB which does the same – except for movies. Sometimes, it’s useful to integrate a RESTful API which can allow developers to fetch these item details from your databases and add them to their own applications. Because the last thing we want to do is input all the anime/manga data into our own databaes using traditional methods. Why not let the computer do it for us, amirite?

rest_api

via https://codeplanet.io/principles-good-restful-api-design/

Now, back to MyAnimeList. MAL has an API but it’s very lacking. You can’t fetch anime, manga, people or even character details directly. Furthermore, the output is in XML rather than JSON. 😦

Okay, what now?

So what do we do? We create our own. Let’s say that now we have an API that can fetch any anime or manga data via their link through means of Scraping.

Let’s talk about Scraping. Scraping is a method that fetches the web page and goes through all the nicely written /s HTML code using an algorithm that extracts the information you need from that web page. When there’s no API, this is an only solution. This or we use another service that provides an API but I really wanted to see how far I could go with this project – so why not?

What’s left?

We now have code that scrapes the web page and returns juicy data that you can cache/save/add/whatever. This requires you to provide the algorithm a link to the page you want to be scrapped, but there’s over hundreds of thousands of anime and manga out there. It would be ridiculous to leave that to human hands. This is where the Crawler comes in.

The Crawler

What a ‘Crawler’ generally does is start at some page and scans that page for other links. Those other links get saved and then it visits those links, and this recursively keeps on going and going and going.

a88

Now as the crawler is doing its job, the scraper is going through the newly cache of links that are being populated and gets the data from that. This is basically how search engines index pages.

But we’re making a really specific crawler. What I’m looking for are links to anime entries within MAL, as I mentioned before. Which falls unto this: https://myanimelist.net/anime/{anime id}

The crawler looks for links with this pattern and save them and then we have the scraper go through them and we get an indexed database!


What’s new?

Due to busy college life and other projects, I’ve been unable to pay complete attention to finish this, however as summer approaches, I find myself once again with a lot of time on my hands.

Realizing that MyAnimeList was lacking a simple API to fetch anime or manga details, I decided to create my own. I teased a few screenshots at the end of the previous related post as well. I basically decided to create an unofficial API that lets you simply do what you can’t do from the official API.

Meet ‘Jikan’ – The Unofficial MyAnimeList API

Github: https://github.com/irfan-dahir/jikan

This is the Scraper I’ve been talking about, it’s written in PHP and OOP. So far it can fetch Anime, Manga and some Character details. It’s going to be a lot more, very soon.

Hell, I even got a domain for it: http://jikan.me, although there is nothing to be seen there at the moment. For now, I plan on hosting the API there once it finishes for others to utilize as well with easy. Jikan returns data in JSON format with a simple, RESTful GET request.

It seems I’ve gotten quite side tracked. Right now I have a solid algorithm to fetch the details requires to make an Anime database. The next obvious step would be to make a robust crawler, right?

 

No.

That would double bandwidth and processing power. Each page will be required to be downloaded and scanned twice. Once for the crawler, once for the scraper. I do realize that I previously used the crawler method and got a list of quite a few anime with their details but it was not until a few days later I realized that MAL had a sitemap.

According to this and this we have two less time consuming methods. The first one is a sitemap for anime listings for crawlers/search engines. Then the second one consists of a method to download a huge list of entries using wildcards in the search. Personally, I have a terrible internet speed and wish to conclude that this works by testing my API against the data it scrapes. The sitemap goes upto 33,000 anime IDs where as the wildcard search results yields more than 107,000 anime IDs! I’ll go with the former that consists of 30~ish % of the entries.

You can also get the sitemap of manga, characters, people, news, featured articles, etc from https://myanimelist.net/sitemap/index.xml too. Pretty useful.

So we not only saved time – we’re also less prone to break MAL terms and conditions. >.>

A-Anyways. We’re down to downloading and populating our personal database.

The Process

  1. Create a links file from that XML file
  2. Write a basic script to load that file and use our API to fetch the data from those links
  3. That’s pretty much it.

1 – Making the list of links

We created a links file from the XML and ended up with 12,096 links. This pretty much shows how many anime IDs are numerically inept. entries

2 – Using our API to go through these links and scrape the data

I’ll be using the power of my shitty internet and laptop to do this, therefore no VPS will be used to induce a DoS attack through these requests.

 

 

Ofcourse, it’s not that fast. I just commented out the scraping part before running it. It will however look like that

Here’s the code that was used: https://gist.github.com/irfan-dahir/70a51ba26a03161db6d451d855944e47

 

 

3 – That’s pretty much it!

Anime details get stored in a JSON file and I’m able to load them whenever needed. There is no user interface to show it to you but I could dump the JSON to my Github once I get enough data.

 

This concludes my own Anime Database. But there’s more to it. The interest of having an offline version of an anime database led to me developing a MAL API. And there’s upcoming updates for that!

I’ll be sure to post some stats when the scraping completes.

Making My Own Anime Database (part 1)

WHY?

Simply, I wanted to build a recursive web scraper/crawler and an updated anime database parsed in JSON was lacking on github. And I’m doing so! So what exactly are the steps to make your own anime database?

First off, you can’t be doing manual data entries. You need a web crawler. And I’m targeting MyAnimeList. Not in any bad sense, love the site. o.o

MAL has it’s own API but it’s terrible. You can not retrieve anime info without 3rd party APIs and wrappers. I’ve made Stats::Extract,  which extracts data from an html file so this shouldn’t be too advanced for me.

THE STEPS

  1. Make the Crawler (done!)
  2. Make the Wrapper (working on it!)
  3. Make the Scraper (not even a single line)

In this post, I’ll emphasize on

MAKING THE CRAWLER

The crawler is a script that requires an entry point, a link if you may, to the web page and then from there it searches for whatever you’re looking for. In my case, I’m targeting the Anime (will do the mangas too).

The entry point is: https://myanimelist.net

What I’m looking for: https://myanimelist.net/anime/{anime id}

So, after crawling into the entry point, it looks for anime page links and adds them to the “queue pool“. But it doesn’t end there. It does its job as a crawler and iterates through the queue pool, loading each and every page and further on adding more links extracted from those pages to the pool!  Now, this is a long process.

If you understood what I’m having it do, you might as why in the world don’t I extract the anime info using a wrapper since I’m already on it’s web page?! Well, you see. By the time I was done, I realized that the process was so slow. I’ve started researching multithreading/forking in PHP so I can utilize that on the Scraper instead. Further more, I had the scraper only go through 2000~ anime listings until I got tired of it. It proved my point, it was working. I could use it for anime that get newly added in the database or something.

I got the rest of the animes from users on MAL which had the most watched anime entries.

The crawler is completely CLI (command line interface). The Wrapper will be a PHP Library and the Scraper will be CLI too.

I’ll release the source code on github when it’s a presentable state (soon).

THE PLAN

  1. Make a basic wrapper which fetches anime information (such as name, episodes, studios, producers, ratings, date aired, genre, etc). This would be a simple wrapper for the database which doesn’t need all the information stored on MAL anime pages.
  2. Make a scraper with multithreading/forking to use the anime database of their MAL links I have right now to fetch their data and make my database.
  3. Re-write the wrapper as a complete NON-AUTHENTICATION API to fetch each and everything about anime, manga, people, character, etc. Basically a complete wrapper for the whole site. And release it on github because MAL’s own API is lackluster.
  4. Re-write the scraper with the crawler and the wrapper as it’s main components. So this time, asynchronously, the scraper will add anime links to the pool and extract the anime information on those pages directly. This could probably be the ultimate MAL Scraper.

That is, if I get it done.

Oh, and a sneak peak at the wrapper.

wrapper

 

Part 2: https://irfandahir.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/making-my-own-anime-database-part-2/