This is something I’ve found myself thinking on a regular basis since I started researching companies to approach. Turns out there is no way to do this unless you go into the living room, turn on the Apple TV and then search via the app store. To say this is a PITA is an understatement. What I really wanted to do was go to a website and search by a name. This was impossible, until now: check out TwivelStats.
After a bit of googling around I discovered that there was no web interface to the ATV app store but you can get a JSON dump by spoofing iTunes store headers and hitting a certain endpoint URL. Throw in some standard Apple category and chart IDs and you’re able to get a lot of data on a lot of apps.
Once I discovered the raw JSON, my next thought was “hmm, how hard could indexing and displaying that data be?”. So I cracked open a fresh version of Drupal and started hacking. After working through the weekend and little bit more, TwivelStats was born.
Each night I pull down around 130 charts. From that dump I generate a unique list of apps and then process those. Each time I get the data I save a new chart and create a new revision of the app. This means that in a few months I’ll have some really interesting historical data such as being able to track the movement of an app through the charts.