Exporting Reminders From PingMe

2010-03-17 20:00:00 -0400


Last night we made a small update to the PingMe reminder service to make it possible for you to export a listing of your reminders, should you decide you’d like to switch to another service. If you click on the Profile Tab, you will see an “Export” section at the top of the page:

The export options are straightforward, but I want to describe the CSV and XML formatted output and describe what exactly each of the fields describes, to help anybody looking to massage the data for another system.

CSV Output

CSV (comma separated value) output is suitable for opening in a Spreadsheet program like excel, but it can also be opened with any standard text reader. Field data will be correctly escaped when necessary according to the CSV spec (for instance, when a field contains a comma, line-break, or quote character). The data is UTF8-encoded (not ASCII), but if you try to open the file directly in Microsoft Excel, it may munge the UTF8 characters that extend beyond the ASCII set. Other spreadsheet programs should be able to handle this for you, and help you convert into an actual Excel workbook.

Here’s some example output, with a header row:


id,is_done,require_confirmation,created_at,updated_at,is_active,is_recurring,message,start_date,schedule_type,recurring_frequency,is_pestering,targets,pester_interval,tags,users
172,false,false,22-Jul-2008 17:34,22-Jul-2008 17:34,true,false,check check,22-Jul-2008 17:45,one-time,daily,false,Gmail,0,"",Billy

XML Output

This will produce an valid UTF8-encoded XML document. The root element is <pings type="array" />, and it contains, you guessed it, a list of pings as XML! Type-hinting attributes are turned on, but should be easy to ignore. This is what it generally looks like:


<pings type="array">
<ping>
<created-at type="datetime">2008-07-22T17:34:04Z</created-at>
<id type="integer">172</id>
<is-active type="boolean">true</is-active>
<is-done type="boolean">false</is-done>
<is-recurring type="boolean">false</is-recurring>
<message>check check</message>
<require-confirmation type="boolean">false</require-confirmation>
<updated-at type="datetime">2008-07-22T17:34:10Z</updated-at>
<tag-s></tag-s>
<users-s>Billy</users-s>
<targets-s>Gmail</targets-s>
<kind>one-time</kind>
<recurring-frequency>daily</recurring-frequency>
<is-pestering type="boolean">false</is-pestering>
<pester-interval type="integer">0</pester-interval>
<start-date type="datetime">2008-07-22T17:45:00Z</start-date>
<schedule-type>one-time</schedule-type>
</ping>
</pings>

Export Field Guide

created_at – Creation timestamp. Excel format used in CSV output. All timestamps are in UTC.

id – The unique integer identifier of the ping. There are many others like it, this one is yours!

is_active – Boolean determining whether the ping is still “active” in the system. This is only really set to false by the system, not the end-user.

is_done – Whether the ping has been marked by the user as “done”. You can interpret is_active = false and is_done = true to mean the same thing.

is_pestering – Boolean indicating whether or not the reminder is supposed to bug you at a particular interval until you respond.

is_recurring – Determines whether the ping will be rescheduled after it sent at it’s start_date.

message – The contents of the reminder itself

pester-interval – The interval in seconds that a ping should be re-sent until a response is received from the user. Only valid if is_pestering == true.

recurring-frequency – The schedule to be used when is_recurring == true. Can be:

  • daily
  • weekly
  • monthly
  • yearly
  • biweekly
  • mon-fri
  • quarterly

require_confirmation – Boolean setting that, when true, makes the ping a kind of “to-do.” Normally, if a ping has been sent at it’s scheduled time, and it’s not up for rescheduling, it is marked as “done” by the system. However, if require_confirmation is set to true by the user, the ping will not be marked “done” until the user replies to confirm that the task has been completed. This causes the ping to stay on your homepage on PingMe, instead of being archived.

schedule_type – Convenience text describing what kind of ping this is: pestering, repeating, or one-time. Pings that are combined pester-repeat pings are simply marked as “pestering”, so you may wish to consult is_pestering and is_recurring directly.

start_date – The date at which the ping should be scheduled for delivery.

tag_s (tags in CSV output) – A comma-separated list of tags assigned to this ping.

targets_s (targets in CSV output) – A comma-separated list of the targets assigned to this ping (names only).

updated_at – Timestamp indicating when this ping was last modified, by the user or the system scheduler.

users_s (users in CSV output) – A comma-separated list of the users this ping was assigned to, listed by login name. This exists because pings can be shared with more than one user.


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