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Last post Author Topic: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck  (Read 236444 times)

skwire

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #375 on: October 19, 2019, 04:20 PM »
I have a question about TVmaze: how easy/difficult would it be to add as an option to use the TVmaze API? I mean in addition to TVDB, as a selectable option. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's probably not trivial, but I'm interested to know.

The main reason is that often for very recent episodes, TVmaze has the correct info, i.e. ep title and airdate sooner than TVDB. Occasionally it's the other way round but I find I often have to check their website when something doesn't match up.

This a bit disjointed to explain, so let me preface it a bit:

  • I'm not a huge fan of most web-browser based interfaces.  Some are awesome, though.
  • I like to think that I have a decent knack for desktop interface design.
  • I enjoy working with standard REST/SOAP APIs such as TVDB, OMDB, ChartLyrics, Subsonic, etc.  Most of these APIs return data in XML or JSON format -- I can easily work with either.
  • I enjoy making desktop apps for said APIs (frontends, basically).  A lot of the programs I've written are exactly this type of application.  Ask mouser...I have something of a listview fetish.   :P

So, that said, working with the TVmaze API wouldn't be any easier or harder than working with the TVDB API.  It's a matter of figuring out the particular endpoints you need for the data you want.  However, it gets tricky when you want to combine multiple APIs into one interface.  Namely:

  • You have to put up with the extra time it takes to query multiple websites.  This is more time-consuming than you might think.  Something as simple as adding a show becomes more complex.  Multiple searches for the show name, multiple user confirmations, and, now, multiple show IDs to deal with for a single show.  Because the show IDs are not going to match between sites, you basically have to maintain separate sets of data for each API you're dealing with.  It gets to be a [email protected]#$ really quickly.
  • You have to put up with potential API changes on multiple fronts now.
  • What if one (or more) of the sites is down?
  • What if one (or more) of the sites goes down permanently?
  • Which database's information takes precedence for a given field?
  • I often pay out of my own pocket for premium API access in order to make my apps better for the end user.  Faster API response times, more allowed API hits per day, access to more data, etc.  While I'm gainfully employed and writing freeware is a hobby, this type of investment is not insignificant.  Think hundreds of dollars per year across all the apps I've written that use APIs.    More APIs can mean more costs.

Indeed, all of this can be dealt with, but, as you can imagine, it can be a bit of a hot mess at times.  I really hope some of the above helps to clarify things.

Bonus question: Have you ever considered open sourcing the project to Github or similar?

Nope.  There's really no voodoo or magic going on here.  It's simple API calls and munging the returned text into an interface.

dallas7

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #376 on: October 19, 2019, 05:15 PM »
you can manually add a show using this process

That did it!

I tried something like that last week but it didn't work, no doubt being ignorant of the correct steps to take.

Thanks so much for the insight and exacting details.  I've saved 'em as a txt file in my epCheck folder; I'm sure in the probably unlikely event I'll need to repeat the process for some other program.

Good health and prosperity to you and yours.

msteph

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #377 on: November 16, 2019, 09:35 AM »
Jody & zzynx: I think this time I'm referencing an actual problem with the API, not the website v3.

:)

For the last couple of days I've not been able to refresh a series' data - in fact doing so erases all the existing data.  Additionally, trying a search for a new series returns nothing. 

Now I see that TVDB is having lots of similar complaints, so it's definitely their problem and not epCheck's but I just wanted to mention it:

https://forums.thetv...hp?f=122&t=60034

Mike S.

msteph

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #378 on: November 16, 2019, 09:45 AM »

dallas7

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #379 on: November 16, 2019, 12:26 PM »
erases all the existing data

Same here.  Those thetvdb forum discussions are way over my pay grade but it does show it's not just us epCheck users. Hope the problem gets resolves soon.

Thanks for posting up.

SkyHighatrist

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #380 on: November 16, 2019, 06:10 PM »
Hey skwire,

I really hope you will find some time to battle with the new API.
I'm looong time epCheck user, and most of those web apps are awful...

Thanks a bunch man.

dallas7

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #381 on: November 22, 2019, 05:26 PM »
Well, this could be the end of epCheck.   :( :( :(

I've been using TitanTV dot com and epguides dot com for years but there's no calendar to customize and print out.

epguides has an excellent resource for TV watchers where one might find alternatives to epCheck in the link for "Check out these Customizable TV Listings" but I don't know how up to date they are.

I used google to ferret some out and I'm testing them now:

episodecalendar dot com
Free version limits to 20 shows.
Premiums for 1, 3, 12, or lifetime run 4, 6, 13, and $33 USD.

schizoduckie dot github dot io/DuckieTV/?from=duckie.tv/
This is a Windows stand-alone app which I'm runing on a test system.
Two extensions are available for Google Chrome.

Duckie's background is sold black, no options.  There is no print-out for the calendar so a screen shot print-out would waste too much toner.  So, it's not a fav so far.  The stable app is dated September 17, 2017.  But the nightly releases on GitHut are right up to... today.

trakt dot tv
I'll look into this if either of those two don't pan out.

Or epCheck returns!


skwire

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #382 on: November 22, 2019, 09:43 PM »
First of all, I'm glad you find (found? ;)) the app useful.  Secondly, apologies for the lack of replies lately.  My regular job has got me pretty covered up this year.  Third, based on what I've seen, this will not be an easy, nor a quick, fix.  So, right now, it's a matter of finding the time necessary to update epCheck.  I was hoping to have some time off of business travel in December, but it seems not as I travel each of the first three weeks.   :-\  What I really need are 40 hour days or to go without even less sleep than I typically get.   :P

SkyHighatrist

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #383 on: November 23, 2019, 02:23 PM »
Patience is a virtue  8)

If you find some time to work it out, great, if not, it was great while it lasted, and thank you for that!

msteph

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #384 on: November 25, 2019, 08:36 AM »
SkyHighatrist, I couldn't have said it better myself.  I'm extremely grateful for all of Jody's work on epCheck.  It has been invaluable to my television viewing but we can't expect him to fix what TVDB has broken.  :)

msteph

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #385 on: November 25, 2019, 09:10 AM »
dallas7, that's a great post.  Thanks for checking out those alternatives, and I will look into them myself.

One possibility that I'm using right now is "thefutoncritic" website.  Like other sites, you can personalize things, in their case creating an account called "MyFuton".  Then you add your shows and they'll show up on a daily or monthly list when you click on a day on the "SELECT A DATE" calendar. 

Your list of shows, called "SHOWATCH" has info like 'date, start/end', 'network, 'time slot', and 'status'.  You can also click on an individual show and go to its page to see all of its episodes, past and future, with repeats marked. 

What I've been doing is taking a screen capture of the monthly list, then checking the current day from the calendar in case a network has made a last-minute change.  I don't print the page, but you could and then mark it up the way you want. 

I prefer a list-view rather than a calendar-view (like epCheck's Monthly tab) because I'm following so many shows (eg, 10 shows just on Sundays).  In my situation, a calendar would be very large and a printout would be paper-and-ink intensive.  :)

Mike S.


skwire

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #386 on: November 25, 2019, 10:48 AM »
SkyHighatrist, I couldn't have said it better myself.  I'm extremely grateful for all of Jody's work on epCheck.  It has been invaluable to my television viewing but we can't expect him to fix what TVDB has broken.  :)

I want to fix epCheck, because it's an app that I enjoy using myself.  Right now, it's a matter of finding time to do it, and I hope to find time this holiday week.  =]

msteph

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #387 on: November 26, 2019, 06:56 PM »
Jody, that's great to hear. 

So, maybe, instead of post-Thanksgiving-dinner tv football, it will be post-Thanksgiving-dinner epCheck fixin'?

:)

ganymede4

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #388 on: November 27, 2019, 06:26 PM »
OMG how embarrassing...I must've been half asleep when I made this post because I completely forgot about it until coming here today to see what's going on with epCheck and saw your reply. My apologies.

I have a question about TVmaze: how easy/difficult would it be to add as an option to use the TVmaze API? I mean in addition to TVDB, as a selectable option. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's probably not trivial, but I'm interested to know.

The main reason is that often for very recent episodes, TVmaze has the correct info, i.e. ep title and airdate sooner than TVDB. Occasionally it's the other way round but I find I often have to check their website when something doesn't match up.

This a bit disjointed to explain, so let me preface it a bit:

  • I'm not a huge fan of most web-browser based interfaces.  Some are awesome, though.
  • I like to think that I have a decent knack for desktop interface design.
  • I enjoy working with standard REST/SOAP APIs such as TVDB, OMDB, ChartLyrics, Subsonic, etc.  Most of these APIs return data in XML or JSON format -- I can easily work with either.
  • I enjoy making desktop apps for said APIs (frontends, basically).  A lot of the programs I've written are exactly this type of application.  Ask mouser...I have something of a listview fetish.   :P

I'm also not a fan of browser-based interfaces, I much prefer a well crafted software solution, like epCheck! You do have a knack for design. It's looks good and it works. Simple form, simple function.


So, that said, working with the TVmaze API wouldn't be any easier or harder than working with the TVDB API.  It's a matter of figuring out the particular endpoints you need for the data you want.  However, it gets tricky when you want to combine multiple APIs into one interface.  Namely:

  • You have to put up with the extra time it takes to query multiple websites.  This is more time-consuming than you might think.  Something as simple as adding a show becomes more complex.  Multiple searches for the show name, multiple user confirmations, and, now, multiple show IDs to deal with for a single show.  Because the show IDs are not going to match between sites, you basically have to maintain separate sets of data for each API you're dealing with.  It gets to be a [email protected]#$ really quickly.
  • You have to put up with potential API changes on multiple fronts now.
  • What if one (or more) of the sites is down?
  • What if one (or more) of the sites goes down permanently?
  • Which database's information takes precedence for a given field?
  • I often pay out of my own pocket for premium API access in order to make my apps better for the end user.  Faster API response times, more allowed API hits per day, access to more data, etc.  While I'm gainfully employed and writing freeware is a hobby, this type of investment is not insignificant.  Think hundreds of dollars per year across all the apps I've written that use APIs.    More APIs can mean more costs.

Indeed, all of this can be dealt with, but, as you can imagine, it can be a bit of a hot mess at times.  I really hope some of the above helps to clarify things.

I take your points, but I can only understand them from a user, not developer perspective, so forgive me if some nuances are lost on me. I suppose my question has suddenly become more relevant than ever with the shitshow that was TVDB's API change. It would have been fantastic to have a "switch" that could've shifted all the enquiries to TVMaze.

Again, not a dev so if my points sound lame, uneducated, clueless etc then I'm sorry, I'm just spitballing from a "wishlist" angle. I would love epCheck to have a function where you select your primary API and a secondary API, or leave it as is for tvdb and never touch the switch. I suppose it would have two create two separate DBs, because as you said, which DB takes precedence for a given field? Also, show IDs not matching etc. Perhaps it could be implemented via the profile function you've already implemented. Or maybe it couldn't work that way, I don't know.

However, I guess as a user, I would LOVE to have that choice! Wait times, hard drive space etc are trivial matters. I wouldn't mind the extra time getting the two DBs setup initially. You could work off the primary and periodically refresh the secondary or just leave it until disaster strikes like it has now. There are certain shows I follow that I would probably check both weekly because often the data is different and was the reason for my initial enquiry.

I didn't realise you paid for these APIs out of your own pocket; that alone is reason enough to say "not gonna happen bud". I appreciate this even more now.

Bonus question: Have you ever considered open sourcing the project to Github or similar?

Nope.  There's really no voodoo or magic going on here.  It's simple API calls and munging the returned text into an interface.

The reason I asked has, again, kind of become more relevant now. If other devs had access to source, and more time on their hands than you, they could tweak, merge code, handle pull requests, etc. At times like this, maybe it would be good to join forces with a colleague/peer that could help out. If I could code, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I saw someone here mentioned DuckieTV. My extensive searching eventually brought me to Duckie and I've been using it for a few days. It's good not great. It's too "web browser-ey" for my taste and it has too much dynamic zoom in/zoom out action going on but once you've got your shows in (I've barely even scratched the surface, I had over 1800 shows in my epCheck DB), and switch to a weekly view, the list is easy enough to use.

One feature I REALLY, REALLY like that I would dearly love implemented in epCheck (pretty please with sugar on top, once this API thing is fixed) is an extra check box for "Mark as Downloaded". It would be so good to have that instead of just mark as watched. I end up using that box as a downloaded check because it may take me years to get to get around to watching something! I need the daily/weekly view, the one I work with most, to be more meaningful as a "yep, ok, got that ep" checklist.

So Duckie is fine as a temporary measure but I much prefer epCheck and it would be wonderful to have it functional again. I have backed up the myshows.txt and watched.ini files but the DB itself is ruined as any attempts to update after things went belly up essentially wiped it clean, at least from an in-app perspective. All the folders and their contents are still there, they just show up blank. All that's left is a list of shows. I hope when things are resurrected that a full refresh will bring it all back as long as all the original files and folders are still in place. *fingers crossed*.


Klatuu

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #389 on: December 05, 2019, 01:09 PM »

I want to fix epCheck, because it's an app that I enjoy using myself.  Right now, it's a matter of finding time to do it, and I hope to find time this holiday week.  =]

This is great to hear.  I've used two other episode reminders for the PC, and EP Check is still by far the best.  Easy to read and use.  I assume the new API 3 from TVDB is the problem.  Hopefully you can find the time to update EP Check to comply.  (Right now all it downloads are the graphics for each show.)  I was going to suggest that maybe make this an open source program and see if others want to work on it, but if you are looking to do the updates to meet with the new programming API - that's great.  I'd be willing to pay a reasonable amount for EP Check - it's that good.  But of course getting enough people to pay to make it well worth your while is not a guarantee! ;)   I look forward to your efforts - hope you can get things running again!  Thanks!

dallas7

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #390 on: December 20, 2019, 02:09 PM »
First of all, I'm glad you find (found? ;)) the app useful.  Secondly, apologies for the lack of replies lately.  My regular job has got me pretty covered up this year.  Third, based on what I've seen, this will not be an easy, nor a quick, fix.  So, right now, it's a matter of finding the time necessary to update epCheck.  I was hoping to have some time off of business travel in December, but it seems not as I travel each of the first three weeks.   :-\  What I really need are 40 hour days or to go without even less sleep than I typically get.   :P
Sorry it took me this long to reply.  I've been using epCheck since early 2014.  I did not mean my Nov 22 post to portend its death knell or an expectation that you prioritize a fix.  Or a fix at all.

Your Nov 25 post that you have an enthusiasm in updating epCheck is hopeful.

Cheers.


skwire

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #391 on: December 20, 2019, 02:14 PM »
My work travel is done for the year so I really hope to have some time for this and a NANY in the next little while.

dallas7

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #392 on: December 20, 2019, 02:29 PM »
dallas7, that's a great post.  Thanks for checking out those alternatives, and I will look into them myself.
One possibility that I'm using right now is "thefutoncritic" website.

Thanks!  I didn't know about The Futon Critic and I'll look into into it because...

The user experience in DuckieTV, Episode Calendar and TraktTV have been overall unrewarding.  They're loaded down with so many bloated features, overpowering visuals and the wasted space of the modern/metro/millennial/material design, that the simple need for a basic calendar has taken a seat way up in the bleachers.  As well, the schedules don't quite match up and some shows that can be added or favored in one can't be done so in another.  I'm now checking all three to be sure my DVR scheduling is accurate.

The subscriptions features of DuckieTV and TrakTV are worthless to me and would even add to the bloat of the free versions.

I did pay for three months of Episode Calendar to get past the 20-show limit of the free service.  But two inquiries I sent to the developer remain unanswered.  So, no support, it seems.

Cheers.


nickodemos

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #393 on: December 20, 2019, 08:49 PM »

SkyHighatrist

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #394 on: December 23, 2019, 02:41 PM »
My work travel is done for the year so I really hope to have some time for this and a NANY in the next little while.

Good news! (for us, at least)  :D

dallas7

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #395 on: December 23, 2019, 09:16 PM »
One possibility that I'm using right now is "thefutoncritic" website.

(Read msteph's post #385 above for his tips and insight of The Futon Critic, too.)

The Futon Critic is exceptionally useful.  Its catalogue and episode accuracy exceeds anything I've used.  I've bumped into this site a few years ago, but never recognized its value.  Probably because of its old-school, but good-school interface.

Anyhow, it will be my primary source as an accuracy check against TrakTV, Episode Calendar and DUckieTV, each of which leave something to be desired in that department.  I'll continue to use it even if/when epCheck returns.

The Futon Critic (My Futon Critic when you're logged in) touts itself as "the world's best television resource."  I can't argue that and IMHO, the simple displays has much to do with that. 

There are caveats:
- Unsecure HTTP connection.  No big deal considering what's being dealt with, but you should make sure you sign up with an email address you don't use for important stuff.  (I used a temporary mailinator dot com address as I'm not needing any of The Critics' e-mail subscriptions.)  All things considered, one can even use a simple-to-remember password.

- Ancient searching algorithms.  "The NameOfShow" fails, "NameOfShow, The" doesn't.  I couldn't find "A Discovery of Witches" but I did find it in a list of shows by searching "discovery."  Upon selecting it, it's in my ShowWatch as "Discovery of Witches, A"  Search for two or three dozen shows and you'll get the hang of it.

- There is no "wall" calendar as in epCheck.  The calendar is a front end for a very complete and useful text listing of show(s) for the date you click on.  A text listing can also be displayed for an entire month. The calendar does not have different fonts/colors for days with or without shows.

I really like MyNews.  It parses your ShowWatch for custom targeting of news and announcements, RSS capable.

Cheers.

msteph

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #396 on: December 23, 2019, 10:46 PM »
nickodemos, thanks for that link to My Episodes.  Looks like a good resource and I'll check it out further.

dallas7, thanks for the expanded review of Futon Critic.  It's the site I'm using now, having added all my shows.  I take a screenshot of the month, eg December, then edit out the shows as I watch them.  I also check daily for changes to the calendar for that day.  Works quite well so far.

And Jody, here's hoping for epCheck's revival.  :)

nickodemos

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #397 on: December 23, 2019, 11:41 PM »
I use epCheck/Trakt/myepisodes in conjunction with each other.

epCheck was always the backup fail-safe but even it got thrown for a loop. Lucky for us the creator is still active.

myepisodes is dead simple to update and I tend to update it quarterly.

Trakt is updated through a phone app.

All three are very easy to use and keep updated, so I use all three as a fail-safe to each other.

msteph

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #398 on: December 24, 2019, 10:08 AM »
nickodemos, good information!  :)

SkyHighatrist

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Re: NANY 2014 Release - epCheck
« Reply #399 on: January 02, 2020, 11:36 AM »
Happy New Year everyone!