Enhancing Reddit’s API and Search

Monitoring Reddit Activity

Below are some active real-time graphs showing the current comment volume to Reddit. This is using a back-end API that I am developing for other developers to increase transparency on Reddit and to provide cool and useful real-time analytics. In the next several weeks, I will be putting up a separate guide that fully documents the new API which includes analytics, search capabilities and facets (rollups) of the search data. Let’s dive into the first API endpoint to show Reddit activity based on global activity or more specific activity including search term activity (What do I mean by search term activity? Read on!).

API endpoints that fetches data for the graphs above:

 https://api.pushshift.io/reddit/activity?unit=minute&count=60&event=t1 
 https://api.pushshift.io/reddit/activity?unit=minute&count=60&event=t3 

The display above is showing real-time comment activity for Reddit. Pushshift.io is ingesting data using Reddit’s API and indexing the data in real-time. Sphinx search is used on the back-end to provide real-time search of comments submitted to Reddit.

The activity API call returns an array of arrays. Each array within the container array is a two element array that contains the current epoch time in milliseconds and the number comments posted during that time. The returned data for all pushshift.io API calls is held as a value of the data key. Here is a very basic illustration of how the data is returned.

{
    metadata:   {
                  results: 2,
                  time: 0.002
                },
    data:       [
                  [1437016644000, 16],
                  [1437016645000, 11]
                ],
    parameters: {
                  unit: "second",
                  count: 2
                }
}

This endpoint has a couple of very cool parameters. The parameters are:

Parameter Required Description
unit Yes The unit parameter can be one of the following predefined units (second,minute,hour) or an integer representing a span of time. For instance, if the unit parameter is set to “second”, each bar in the graph represents one second of activity.
count No The count parameter is the number of unit blocks to return. For instance, if unit was set to 360 (each value representing six minutes of activity) and count was set to 100, the total range of time returns would be 100 six minute blocks, or the previous ten hours of ingest activity for Reddit.
q No This parameter allows you to see activity for a specific search term. For instance, if you wanted to see a graph of how often the search term “Pao” was mentioned on reddit, you would set the “q” parameter to “pao”. Search is case-insensitive.
event No This parameter can be one of two values, “t1” (comments) or “t3” (submissions). If not present, it will default to “t1”. Use this parameter to narrow down activity to comments or submissions.
subreddit Coming soon… The “subreddit” parameter will allow you to narrow results to a specific subreddit.
submission Coming soon… The “submission” parameter will allow you to narrow results to a specific submission.
start Coming soon… The beginning date in epoch time. Useful for creating graphs from past activity.

Here is an example of using the real-time activity monitor to see all comments that mention “nintendo” over the past 400 hours in four hour units. The API call for this would be https://api.pushshift.io/reddit/activity?unit=14400&count=100&q=”nintendo”. Make sure you URL encode your requests to the API!

More information on this new API endpoint will be added soon. Check back!

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