4chan is a little stuck in web 1.0. Like Craigslist and even Ebay, its interface has been paused in the mid-aughts, making navigation a little less than intuitive. But that could change very soon. After returning to the fold to introduce a Q&A feature last month, 4chan ombudsman moot (nee Chris Poole) announced on the site’s blog today that he is releasing a read-only JSON API.
Mr. Poole said that 1.5 percent of 4chan’s traffic comes from extensions and third party apps, but those apps work primarily by parsing HTML. By releasing a JSON API, developers can begin to build third party clients–both mobile and desktop–that provide a more optimal 4chan reading experience and ostensibly run much faster than their HTML brethren. (Read-only means that developers can harness the API to allow users to read content from 4chan, but not allow them to post through third party apps.)
According to the post:
“4chan” and “API” are certainly two words I never thought I’d find in the same sentence, but alas, here we are….The decision to release an API was partially out of necessity, but also because I’m curious to see how people will use it….This potentially has huge performance implications, and it’s much more efficent to fetch JSON objects rather than scrape a full HTML page.
4chan has released “a crude documentation” of the new API on Github. Who’s excited for prettied-up iPad mags full of noodz?
The announcement also included information about some new 4chan features. “Almost every feature from our offical extension and other popular third-party extensions has been implemented natively into the site, and a handful have been enabled by default,” wrote Mr. Poole.
That means devs looking to harness 4chan’s new JSON API better have some fancy tricks up their sleeves, since this inline extension will render a lot of the functionality of those apps, well, moot. (Zing!)