The UK Data Service is delighted to announce the latest version of its UKDS.Stat data browser for international data. David Rawnsley, Application Developer for international data talks us through the new features, explains some of the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff and the rationale behind the new version and brings news about open data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
New Features for the User in UKDS.Stat version 7
Streaming downloads – Your data downloads will start much faster with version 7 – rather than waiting until all the data is collected from the UKDS.Stat database and sending you an email to let you know your data is ready for downloading, you can now start downloading your data straight away and because we are using http compression, that download is faster.
Developer APIs – UKDS.Stat offers access to an increasing number of datasets through a RESTful application programming interface (API) enabling calls to the API programmatically, for integration into programs and web sites. The API utilises the SDMX-JSON format. SDMX-JSON is an international format for statistical data and metadata, designed with ease of use for web developers to integrate data into web sites or web apps.
Freeze row and column headers – Just like in Excel, you can freeze column and row headers so that when you scroll across or down, it is clear what the rows and columns relate to. The ‘Freeze Panes’ command is available from ‘Customise’ à ‘Table options’.
Behind the Scenes Improvements
Most of the improvements in version 7 of UKDS.Stat are ones that are not visible in the data browser, such as improved stability and performance, but they are key to what has been happening with the development work that has been undertaken behind the scenes.
The .Stat software has been almost totally rewritten from top to bottom with a ‘scout’ rule of ‘Always leave the code in a better condition than you found it’, using a set of coding standards called SOLID which can be summed up as ‘make it work, then make it right, only then make it fast’.
Part of the reason to move to Version 7 is that it will allow quicker and easier upgrades to future versions which will allow us to bring new functionality, faster performance and greater stability to the user with as little disruption as possible.
The UK Data Service is part of the Statistical Information System – Collaboration Community (SISCC) – a group of international statistical organisations – which work together to create and improve the .Stat software. Part of the work of that community is to provide better functionality for .Stat to meet the needs of its different users – one new function that .Stat can now provide is a multilingual data browser – meeting the needs of countries like Belgium where there are multiple national languages in use.
Opening up access to more OECD Data
At present UKDS.Stat allows non-registered users access to a range of open datasets – three from the World Bank (African Development Indicators, International Debt Statistics, World Development Indicators and 5 from the IMF: Balance of Payments, Direction of Trade, Government Finance, International Finance and World Economic Outlook.
From Wednesday 15th July we will be adding the following datasets from the OECD as open and available to any user without registration or login.
- Banking Statistics
- Economic Outlook
- Education Statistics
- Employment and Labour Market Statistics
- Health Statistics
- Institutional Investors Statistics
- Insurance Statistics
- International Development Statistics
- International Direct Investment Statistics
- International Trade in Services
- International Migration Statistics
- Main Economic Indicators
- Main Science and Technology Indicators
- Measuring Globalisation
- Monthly Statistics of International Trade
- National Accounts
- Patent Statistics
- Productivity Statistics
- Regional Statistics
- Social and Welfare Statistics
- Structural Analysis databases
- Tax Statistics
- Telecoms and Internet Statistics
This will be a fantastic addition to the UK Data Service’s open data collection and fits with our long-term goal to work with data owners to identify and remove all unnecessary barriers to access. All the OECD open datasets will be available to link to via the new Developer API.
The UK Data Service international data community
UKDS.Stat now includes a direct route through to the UK Data Service International Data Forum where you can get or give peer-to-peer support and information on using international data.
You can share your own knowledge or interest in international data, pass on tips and gets news of upcoming events, training and data releases.
The International Data Forum is based on Google Plus, is unmoderated and driven by the user community. Please join the community and share your expertise on and use of international data.