Currently, our UK SDG data site requires data files to be in a specific format. This means that we have to reformat data that is in a different format in order to make it usable on the site. We are looking to automate the process of updating the data we report. To do this we are working with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which allows two software applications to communicate. APIs are commonly used by websites across the internet to automate updates and changes.

Our aim is to use APIs that will work with data published online on a different website. For example, the ONS Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head time series has a supporting API which makes the data available in a format we can use.

We have written software program code to:

  • Enable our data site to link with APIs used by other websites reporting data
  • Calculate the relevant new figures
  • Format the results so they are usable on our site
  • Print our indicator files ready to go on our site

We are currently using APIs to update 15 different indicators. By automating these updates, we are able to report the latest data faster. To date we have concentrated on developing API communication with ONS websites. We are investigating which other websites we can connect to using APIs in the future.

For more information about the work we are doing with APIs, please email us at SustainableDevelopment@ons.gov.uk.