The API Documentation and Help states:

If the help URL is requested in a common web browser, a HTML styled version of the JSON help will be returned. Otherwise, the JSON help will be returned.

However, I would expect that adding ?type=jsontext would override that behavior.

Also, making that request from my app also results in HTML instead of JSON.

  • Any news about that? May 24, 2010 at 15:09
  • Do you mean the /help or the /help/method?method=... url? /help doesn't support a JSON version (at least not now, and its not a high priority). May 25, 2010 at 7:38
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    @Kevin - I was actually hoping for both. The help?json would return formalized list of all available API methods; the help?/method?method=...&json would return a formalized description of the parameters. May 25, 2010 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


Why do you need the JSON representation of the help? For what purpose?

Regardless of what we said, why would that be useful?

  • 4
    I was thinking about building a console-type app, that uses the JSON representation of the help for autocomplete and for showing a plain text help in the app. Another scenario would be automatic proxy building against newer version of the API. In general, a JSON representation of the help can help with any scenarios where one needs automated API discovery/enumeration, kind of like a JSON WSDL. May 25, 2010 at 0:32
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    I think this should be added. I was thinking to build a Playground Stack WebApp that automatically retrieves all the methods available of a given API version, and let you play with them. Without the JSON representation help you don't have a valid entry-point to reach all the API methods automatically. May 25, 2010 at 9:32
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    I could see a use for consuming the help file in a JSON format when creating a library or wrapper. Rather than re-type or copy and paste all the method descriptions you could pull down the help page and use code templates to prototype the method bodies with full documentation. I was planning on doing this by parsing the current HTML help pages, but while the HTML is very clean it does not use element IDs or CSS classes to annotate the methods very well so it is not very easy to scrape content from those pages.
    – Greg Bray
    May 27, 2010 at 19:43
  • Looks like I spoke too soon... the api.stackoverflow.com/0.8/help/method?method=stats version of the help page does use CSS and ID tags and should be much easier to parse.
    – Greg Bray
    May 27, 2010 at 19:55
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    Jeff- stackapps.com/questions/386/… , stackapps.com/questions/409/… and more on the way - this is why it would be very useful. Jun 1, 2010 at 7:37

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