Created: 2014-05-19 17:52
Updated: 2015-02-15 03:13
License: mit


Working with Springpad User Exports

It's with the deepest regret that we're announcing Springpad shutting down. It's been a pleasure to serve our users over the past 6 years and to work with many of you in the developer community. As we plan for the termination of the service, we are committed to enabling users to get their data and to help provide them options for importing it into other services.

The purpose of this repository is to help developers understand the Springpad export format so that they can build importers for other services or applications. In addition to this documentation, this repository also contains a sample Springpad user export that contains examples of the different types of objects that you can expect to find.

If you have any questions about the shutdown please start with this post on our blog. And for any development-related questions please use our mailing list.


## Contents of the Export Archive

After a user completes an export of their account, they receive an email containing a download link to a zip archive. This archive contains:

  • attachments/
  • viewer_data/
  • export.json
  • README.txt
  • viewer.html

The viewer_data directory and viewer.html file provide a way for the user to view their account offline and therefore aren't of concern for a developer performing an import. The export.json is a complete dump of all of the objects in the user's account. Its format is described in the next section. The attachments directory contains any user uploaded images or other attached files. These files are referenced in the export JSON file.

## JSON Export Format

The export.json file contains all of the objects in the user's account. This includes notes, tasks, checklists, notebooks, etc. The file is structured as a list of JSON objects, each JSON object being a unique Springpad object. Each object has a type that defines what properties it will have. For example, a "Book" has an author while a "Movie" has directors and a "Note" has text. We'll define all of the possible properties for each type of object below, but first, let's look at the properties that all Springpad objects have in common.

## Springpad Object Properties
Name Type Optional Description
uuid ID A unique ID
name String Name or title of the object
type Type Type of the object
public Boolean Is this public or not?
liked Boolean Did the user mark this liked?
rating Integer Rating of the object (0-5)
complete Boolean Springpad objects can be marked complete (e.g., is the task done? has the movie been watched?)
tags Array of Strings List of tags
notebooks Array of IDs List of notebook IDs that this object is in. The notebooks are defined in export.json file as well.
image Link Representative image for the object. Can be null
created Date Creation date
modified Date Modified date
description String Description or summary
url String URL for the object. In the case of a block that was scraped, the URL it was scraped from.

Type-Specific Properties

The rest of the document examines properties available for each Springpad object type.

### Note
Name Type Optional Description
text String The contents of the note (may be HTML-formatted)
### Task
Name Type Optional Description
complete Boolean Is the task complete or not (this property was referenced above as well)
date Date Due date
### Appointment
Name Type Optional Description
date Date Due date
allDay Boolean Is the appointment all day
addresses Map of address name to address Addresses
repeats Frequency Frequency of repeating
### Reminder
Name Type Optional Description
notes String
date Date Reminder date
repeats Frequency Frequency of repeating
### Bookmark
Name Type Optional Description
url String URL of the bookmark
### Checklist
Name Type Optional Description
items List of ChecklistItem
### Contact

An address book entry.

Name Type Optional Description
company String Company the contact works for
title String Title of the contact
addresses Map of address name to address Addresses (e.g., home, work, second home.)
phone numbers Map of phone/fax name to phone number Phone numbers (e.g., home, cell, fax)
accounts Map of account name to value Used for things like IM accounts, email addresses, websites, etc
### File

The url property will provide a link to the actual file (generally, in the attachments directory).

Name Type Optional Description
mime-type String Type of the file
### Audio

The url property will provide a link to the actual audio file.

Name Type Optional Description
duration Integer Number of seconds
### Place

A business or restaurant.

Name Type Optional Description
cuisines List of Strings Restaurant-only property
neighborhood String Restaurant-only property
price String How spendy is the restaurant?
menu url String Restaurant-only property
addresses Map of address name to address Addresses
phone numbers Map of phone/fax name to phone number Phone numbers (e.g., phone, fax)
accounts Map of account name to value Used for things like email addresses, websites, etc
### Product
Name Type Optional Description
price String
manufacturer String
model String
### Book
Name Type Optional Description
author String
price String
publication date Date
cover String (e.g. hard or soft cover)
genres List of Strings
level String reading level
isbn String
### TV Show
Name Type Optional Description
cast List of Strings
directors List of Strings
writers List of Strings
producers List of Strings
awards List of Strings
rated String
plot String
season String
### Movie
Name Type Optional Description
cast List of Strings
directors List of Strings
writers List of Strings
producers List of Strings
awards List of Strings
rated String
runtime String
release date Date
### Wine
Name Type Optional Description
varietal String
vintage String
label String
price String
wine type String
region String
ratings List of Strings
### Album
Name Type Optional Description
artist String
price String
format String
genres List of Strings
release date Date
### Musician/Band
Name Type Optional Description
bio String
genres List of Strings
record labels List of Strings
members List of Strings
### Recipe
Name Type Optional Description
cuisine String
course String
ingredients String
directions String
main ingredient String
servings String
source String URL to the source of the recipe
### Notebook
Name Type Optional Description
category String
item count Integer Number of items in the notebook

Property Types

### Type

A JSON string defining the type of an object.

It will be one of:

  • Note
  • Task
  • Appointment
  • Reminder
  • Bookmark
  • Checklist
  • Contact
  • File
  • Photo
  • Audio
  • Place
  • Product
  • Book
  • TV Show
  • Movie
  • Wine
  • Album
  • Musician/Band
  • Recipe
  • Notebook
  • Frequency



### ID

Springpad uses UUID strings to uniquely identify objects.



<a name="datatype-link


Links can either be URLs to a resource on the internet or relative link to a file in the attachments directory of the export.


  • "http://example.com/img.gif"
  • "attachments/MV5BMjA3NzMyMzU1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjc1ODUwMg@@._V1._SY317_CR17,0,214,317_.jpg"
### Date

Dates are ISO-8601-formatted and include time and timezone.



### ChecklistItem

ChecklistItems are JSON objects containing with a boolean complete property and a string name property.


  • {"complete": true, "name": "walk the dog"}
  • {"complete": false, "name": "take out the trash"}
### Frequency

Frequencies are JSON objects that convey how frequently and if an event or alarm repeats. A description of each property is below but the examples below that probably provide the best way to understand these objects.

A frequency object may contain the following the properties:

  • type this will always be equal to Frequency and all Frequency objects have it
  • text this is an English-language explanation of the frequency of the event and all Frequency objects have it
  • repeats this is the type of frequency: Never, Daily, Weekdays, Weekly, Monthly By Day Of Month, Monthly By Day Of Week, Yearly
  • repeat every used for daily, weekly, monthly, and year frequencies this means repeat every n days/weeks/months/years where n is the value of repeat every
  • on days used for weekly frequencies this is a JSON object with properties: mon, tue, wed, thu, fri, sat, sun mapping to booleans that if true mean it should repeat on that day


    "text":"every 6 days",
    "repeat every":6,
    "text":"every 4 months on the day of week",
    "repeat every":4,
    "repeats":"Monthly By Day Of Week",
    "text":"every month on the day",
    "repeat every":1,
    "repeats":"Monthly By Day Of Month",
    "text":"every 2 weeks on mon and wed",
    "repeat every":2,
    "on days":
    "text":"every day",
    "repeat every":1,
    "text":"every 3 years",
    "repeat every":3,

Case study

### Creating an importer

Included in this repository under Example_Springpad_Export is a sample dataset that demonstrates a number of different Springpad types and permutations of data properties. Using this sample is a great starting point for those who wish to build an importer for Springpad users’ data. The contents of each export archive are discussed above; this section describes the steps a developer may take to start building an importer.

Aligning with Springpad data

For the purposes of this document, let’s assume that a fictional productivity website, foo-organize.com, will be building an importer. Foo-organize provides a productivity functionality (notes, checklists, reminders) alongside a bookmarking + web-scraping service. Not all Springpad data is appropriate to their app, but most data will be transferrable with a bit of creativity. The steps below are merely illustrative, but may serve to highlight some high-level considerations you should make when building an importer.

Generally, Springpad’s objects can be divided into two general buckets; productivity types (notes, checklists, reminders, events) and reference types (bookmarks, recipes, products, etc). Many instances of reference types will have a URL as a source, making them candidates for data imports into bookmarking services.

Step 0: Foo-organize reads about the Springpad’s data model and export contents. It’s determined that both productivity types and reference types can be imported, with only a small loss of data.


Before using a third-party importing service, Springpad users will be required to have downloaded a .zip archive containing the contents of their export. An importing service should provide a mechanism for users to upload the entire zip, although certain applications may wish to only use the contents of export.json.

Step 1: Foo-organize builds a mechanism for uploading Springpad export archives


As described earlier in this document, the contents of export.json contain all objects in a user’s Springpad account. The organizational methodology of Springpad is that objects can be either organized in one or more Notebooks (which themselves are an object) or be un-filed (no notebook membership).

Step 2: Foo-organize first scans export.json for objects of type notebook to come up with a set of Notebooks that can be referenced later.

Munging and Wrangling the objects

Springpad’s data model is unlikely to have a one-to-one relationship with those of other services, but with a bit of creativity it’s possible to retain most (or all) of a user’s data.

Step 3: Foo-organize is hierarchically flat, and uses tagging as an organizational methodology — in other words, there are no folders or notebooks. To reconcile this difference, the importer’s UI lets users opt-in to tag items contained within a Springpad notebook with the name of the notebook. E.g. if user kyle has a notebook named sports with 10 bookmarks, each bookmark will be tagged with sports in addition to its pre-existing tags during import. Un-filed items will likewise be tagged with unfiled.

Some data types of Springpad may not be directly transferrable to other services. In this case, it may be prudent to allow the user to choose which types and/or notebooks to import, and also to provide a mechanism for preserving data when possible by using other types as containers for data that the user may still wish to access.

Step 4: Foo-organize’s importer concatenates the data fields of types it doesn’t support, like Contact and Wine into a string that is saved as a note.

Step 5: The service, upon completion, notifies users of any data field, attachments, and/or objects that were unable to be imported.

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