Stack Exchange obviously has a complex API to meet the possible needs of its users, and it seems to require registering applications in order to use it.

All I'm looking for though is a simple way of getting the number of unread messages on my account.
(E.g. so I could be alerted without having to have an open SE web page.)

SEND: "how many unread messages for user=#1234 password=XXX ?" (in a more appropriate format)
RECEIVE: "3" (in any format that's possible to parse, and possibly with other data)

Is there such an interface (via HTTPS or telnet or whatever)?

1 Answer 1


The API way, which is what the mobile apps used to use ... you can go to the API documentation, hit 'Get Token' (to make sure the site knows who you are) and then 'Run':

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To make it work as an application or script, you do need to register your application and follow the authentication procedure; a while ago, I wrote a tutorial to do so for personal use, which seems to match your scenario. You can then mimic the call by the documentation page. I don't know if that's simple enough, but I'm sure it's the simplest way ...

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