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ONS opens up access to datasets through API

API will allow developers to easily access data-sets to create user-friendly apps

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has deployed a new release of its API to make it easier for developers to create applications for its statistics.

It is now offering JSON-STAT data, which is simpler and more lightweight than the XML variant it used when it first opened up access late last year, the governmental body said on its blog this week.

"Because it uses simple clean JSON it is very easy for developers to work with using just the standard tools available in most modern OO languages," the ONS said.

The API is still in beta stage and the ONS is looking for feedback from developers.

It will begin releasing data from 2011 and will gradually build up to the most recent batches. Developers can request specific datasets to work with.

Developers need to register for an API key on the ONS website and can access example code on Github.

Orange, and ITV have recently announced new APIs to improve their customer-facing apps and to integrate disparate digital platforms.

Vendor SAP have announced a partnership with API platform Apigee to offer its customers a Hana-based API tool.

Internet usage statistics in the UK

Separately, the ONS released figures from its internet access survey of households in the first quarter of this year.

The survey found that 76 percent of adults (38 million people) accessed the internet, in comparison to 35 percent in 2006.

Further, it found that internet access 'on the go' is increasing, with 58 percent using a smartphone and 43 percent using a laptop or tablet, up from 53 percent and 43 percent in 2013, respectively.

There are 13 percent of adults in the UK who have never used the internet.

The UK is the second biggest social media user in Europe, just behind Denmark, which topped the leaderboard, but the two countries are tied when it comes to purchasing online. The latest e-commerce figures, taken from 2012, show that 77 percent of both country's residents made a purchase online.

The ONS will release figures from the 2013 e-commerce survey in November. The latest figures from 2012 revealed that almost 20 percent of businesses within the UK did not have a website.


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