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Data.govt.nz product update: Faster, more robust data APIs

Tomorrow morning we’ll be releasing an updated version of the data.govt.nz catalogue service (CKAN). While this shouldn’t have any impact on datasets and publisher access we wanted to share what we’ve been working on. If you find you do have any trouble accessing data.govt.nz after this release try signing out and in again to refresh your login. Our support team are also on hand to field any further questions.

Faster APIs

One of the key improvements for upgrading CKAN is the performance of our data APIs. This is becoming increasing important as we are beginning to see more demand for these APIs to power other digital services in government. Of note is the integration of the Family Services Directory into the SmartStart service.

Research has pointed out we may see significant improvement in performance with this upgrade.

Robust dataset sources

As we are seeing more reliance on core datasets from data.govt.nz to power other services we’ve recognised a need to ensure those datasets stick around. While CKAN is great at helping agencies manage adding and editing their own datasets, this also means these datasets can be removed (either by accident or for good reason). This becomes a problem when others are reusing datasets in other applications.

To address this we’ve built a new feature for CKAN called “Protected resources”. This allows us to protect datasets that we know are being used by other applications via our API from being removed without some thought. We thought this feature was so useful the work has been released as an open source plugin for CKAN. 

On that note, we’ve also made several security related contributions to the core CKAN project over the last several months.

But wait there’s more…

Tomorrow’s updates are the beginning of continuous improvements we’ll be rolling out over the coming months to data.govt.nz. Our partnership with Stats NZ and engaging a wide range of government agency and public users is shaping up how we’re making data.govt.nz even better.

Next up

  • Upgraded data-to-API service allowing data APIs to load in larger datasets.
  • Reworked structure and navigation of the overall data.govt.nz website based on user input.
  • Improved showcase of open data reuse stories.

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