Working with the Anki database on mac OS using Python

Not long ago I ran across this post detailing a method for opening and inspecting the Anki database using Python outside the Anki application environment. However, the approach requires linking to the Anki code base which is inaccessible on mac OS since the Python code is packaged into a Mac app on this platform.

The solution I’ve found is inelegant; but just involves downloading the Anki code base to a location on your file system where you can link to it in your code. You can find the Anki code here on github.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to load an Anki collection. First, the preliminaries:

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#!/usr/bin/python

import sys

# paths
ANKI_PATH = 'path to where you downloaded the anki codebase'
COLLECTION_PATH = "path to the Anki collection"

sys.path.append(ANKI_PATH)
from anki import Collection

Now we’re ready to open the collection:

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col = Collection(COLLECTION_PATH)

And execute a simple query to print out the total number of cards in the collection:

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query = """SELECT COUNT(id) from cards"""
totalCards = col.db.scalar(query)

print 'There are {:.5g} total cards.'.format(totalCards)

Then close the collection:

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col.close()

That’s it. Ideally, we’d be able to link to the Anki code bundled with the Mac application. Maybe there’s a way. In the meanwhile, here’s the entire little app:

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#!/usr/bin/python

import sys

# paths
ANKI_PATH = '/Users/alan/Documents/dev/projects/PersonalProjects/anki'
COLLECTION_PATH = "/Users/alan/Documents/Anki/Alan - Russian/collection.anki2"

sys.path.append(ANKI_PATH)
from anki import Collection

col = Collection(COLLECTION_PATH)

query = """SELECT COUNT(id) from cards"""
totalCards = col.db.scalar(query)

print 'There are {:.5g} total cards.'.format(totalCards)

col.close()