TL;WR - Find instructions from LEGO.com for those sets where the kids lose the instruction booklet; all of them.
I was on the hunt to find a solution for saving/recalling lego instruction sets for my kids. They lose them all the time.
Unfortunately, Lego doesn’t offer an API nor do they provide a friendly way of finding set instructions programatically. And, for some reason they don’t use the set id as the name for the pdf.
I came across two or three third parties that have an API. I discounted one immediately because it didn’t offer JSON results and it required user credentials and an API key. Too much to deal with. I want to share this with folks without telling them how to get a key and where to sign up and whatnot.
I did find a web page through one of these third parties that used the set id’s as the pdf names! Sweet! I was in! Thing were working… sort-of. The only issue was, it was painfully slow. Painfully. Back to the drawing board.
While back at step 1, I found a neat little link on one of the third party sites that exported all the lego sets in text format with references to Lego.com’s original pdf I mentioned earlier. Now, it was just a simple matter of doing some regex mapping and viola.
A neat little side effect I wasn’t expecting but turned out to be kinda cool was when I opened the PDFs in iOS Books, it saves them. So, that’s sweet.