Meet our API Data Explorer – aka your new best friend if you are working with big data.
We have just released a new super simple USMART feature: the API* Data Explorer.

January 26, 2017


Whenever a dataset has an API resource, the API Data Explorer will appear on the dataset page. This allows users without programming experience to preview, filter, aggregate and group data from the API.

Let’s break it down!

It all begins with URQL which is USMART’s API resource query language that powers USMART’s API Data Explorer. It provides users with a smarter and faster way to explore and work with big data: it is used to filter, aggregate and group data - all without a single download.


With URQL, USMART does the heavy lifting for you -  we give you full access to the API backed by our cloud computing power.

Why is this useful? 

The API Data Explorer uses URQL to query the API and then displays the results in a table. You can use its powerful filtering functionality to drill down into the dataset, identifying the information that you are particularly interested in. At the same time, the API Data Explorer automatically displays the URQL query it has used to retrieve the data – teaching you how the query works.


USMART API Data Explorer user interface before filtering

After filtering according to various parameters - these maybe ready made based on the content of the columns or determined by you e.g: in this example from NHS prescription data this could include geographical location, type of prescription drugs, number of prescriptions, price of the drug etc.:


USMART API Data Explorer user interface after filtering for certain parameters

The filtered results are downloadable in CSV or JSON format and you can bookmark or share the query link to always retrieve the latest data from the dataset.

The API Data Explorer was utilised heavily during the Product Forge “Future Health” hackathon when major new NHS health datasets were opened up for the very first time.  It enabled the hack participants to very quickly explore, play & work with some big datasets.  Feel free to give it a spin and get in touch with any feedback!

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*API: An API, or application programming interface, is a set of published definitions, protocols and tools for building software and applications.

USMART is the developer’s friend: you can expose datasets as APIs. In this case, USMART does the bulk of the data processing. What’s more is that the APIs allow developers to access up-to-date data. So, let’s say a developer builds an application accessing your dataset with an API in USMART. Then you update that dataset. The API allows the developer to have and display the most up-to-date data.

Not an experienced developer? Our API access tutorial helps users work and play with open data in USMART.


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