Summary

The HDX Python API Library is designed to enable you to easily develop code that interacts with the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform. The major goal of the library is to make pushing and pulling data from HDX as simple as possible for the end user. If you have humanitarian-related data, please upload your datasets to HDX.

Contents

Information

For more about the purpose and design philosophy, please visit HDX Python Library.

This library is part of the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) project. If you have humanitarian related data, please upload your datasets to HDX.

The code for the library is here. The library has detailed API documentation which can be found in the menu at the top.

Breaking Changes

From 5.6.0, creating and updating datastores removed

From 5.4.0, Configuration class moved to hdx.api.configuration and Locations class moved to hdx.api.locations

From 5.3.0, only supports Python 3.6 and above

From 5.0.1, Dataset functions get_location_iso3s and get_location_names replace get_location

From 4.8.3, some date functions in Dataset have been deprecated: get_dataset_date_type, get_dataset_date_as_datetime, get_dataset_end_date_as_datetime, get_dataset_date, get_dataset_end_date, set_dataset_date_from_datetime and set_dataset_date.

From 3.9.2, the default sort order for returned results from search and getting all datasets has changed.

From 3.7.3, the return type for add_tag, add_tags and clean_tags is now Tuple[List[str], List[str]] (Tuple containing list of added tags and list of deleted tags and tags not added).

From 3.7.1, the list of tags must be from this approved list.

Getting Started

Obtaining your API Key

If you just want to read data from HDX, then an API key is not necessary and you can ignore the 6 steps below. However, if you want to write data to HDX, then you need to register on the website to obtain an API key. You can supply this key as an argument or create an API key file. If you create an API key file, by default this is assumed to be called .hdxkey and is located in the current user's home directory \~. Assuming you are using a desktop browser, the API key is obtained by:

  1. Browse to the HDX website
  2. Left click on LOG IN in the top right of the web page if not logged in and log in
  3. Left click on your username in the top right of the web page and select PROFILE from the drop down menu
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the profile page
  5. Copy the API key which will be of the form: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
  6. You can either:

    a. Pass this key as a parameter or within a dictionary

    b. Create a JSON or YAML file. The default path is .hdx_configuration.yml in the current user's home directory. Then put in the YAML file:

        hdx_key: "HDX API KEY"
    

Installing the Library

To include the HDX Python library in your project, you must pip install or add to your requirements.txt file the following line:

hdx-python-api==VERSION

Replace VERSION with the latest tag available from https://github.com/OCHA-DAP/hdx-python-api/tags.

If you get dependency errors, it is probably the dependencies of the cryptography package that are missing eg. for Ubuntu: python-dev, libffi-dev and libssl-dev. See cryptography dependencies.

If you get import or other errors, then please either recreate your virtualenv if you are using one or uninstall hdx-python-api, hdx-python-country and hdx-python-utilities using pip uninstall, then install hdx-python-api (which will pull in the other dependencies).

Docker

The library is also available set up and ready to go in a Docker image:

docker pull public.ecr.aws/unocha/hdx-scraper-baseimage:stable
docker run -i -t public.ecr.aws/unocha/hdx-scraper-baseimage:stable python3

A Quick Example

A Quick Example

Let's start with a simple example that also ensures that the library is working properly. In this tutorial, we use virtualenv, a sandbox, so that your Python install is not modified.

  1. If you just want to read data from HDX, then an API key is not necessary. However, if you want to write data to HDX, then you need to register on the website to obtain an API key. Please see above about where to find it on the website. Once you have it, then put it into a file in your home directory:

    cd ~
    echo "hdx_key: \"xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx\"" > .hdx_configuration.yml
    
  2. If you are using the Docker image, you can jump to step 6, otherwise install virtualenv if not installed:

    pip install virtualenv
    

    On some Linux distributions, you can do the following instead to install from the distribution's official repository:

    sudo apt-get install virtualenv
    
  3. Create a Python 3 virtualenv and activate it:

    On Windows (assuming the Python 3 executable is in your path):

    virtualenv test
    test\Scripts\activate
    

    On other OSs:

    virtualenv -p python3 test
    source test/bin/activate
    
  4. Install the HDX Python library:

    pip install hdx-python-api
    
  5. If you get errors, it is probably the dependencies of the cryptography package

  6. Launch python:

    python
    
  7. Import required classes:

    from hdx.utilities.easy_logging import setup_logging
    from hdx.api.configuration import Configuration
    from hdx.data.dataset import Dataset
    
  8. Setup logging

    setup_logging()
    
  9. Use configuration defaults.

    If you only want to read data, then connect to the production HDX server, replacing A_Quick_Example with something short that describes your project:

    Configuration.create(hdx_site="prod", user_agent="A_Quick_Example", hdx_read_only=True)
    

    If you want to write data, then for experimentation, do not use the production HDX server. Instead you can use one of the test servers. Assuming you have an API key stored in a file .hdxkey in the current user's home directory:

    Configuration.create(hdx_site="stage", user_agent="A_Quick_Example")
    
  10. Read this dataset Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Data from HDX and view the date of the dataset:

    dataset = Dataset.read_from_hdx("novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-cases")
    print(dataset.get_date_of_dataset())
    
  11. You can search for datasets on HDX and get their resources:

    datasets = Dataset.search_in_hdx("thailand subnational boundaries", rows=10)
    print(datasets)
    resources = Dataset.get_all_resources(datasets)
    print(resources)
    
  12. You can download a resource in the dataset:

    url, path = resources[0].download()
    print("Resource URL %s downloaded to %s" % (url, path))
    
  13. If you have an API key, you can write to HDX. You can try it out on a test server. With a dataset to which you have permissions, change the dataset date:

    dataset = Dataset.read_from_hdx("ID OR NAME OF DATASET")
    print(dataset.get_date_of_dataset())  # record this
    dataset.set_date_of_dataset("2015-07-26")
    print(dataset.get_date_of_dataset())
    dataset.update_in_hdx()
    
  14. You can view it on HDX before changing it back (if you have an API key):

    dataset.set_date_of_dataset("PREVIOUS DATE")
    dataset.update_in_hdx()
    
  15. Exit and remove virtualenv:

    exit()
    deactivate
    

    On Windows:

    rd /s /q test
    

    On other OSs:

    rm -rf test
    

Building a Project

Default Configuration for Facades

The easiest way to get started is to use the facades and configuration defaults. The facades set up both logging and HDX configuration.

The default configuration loads an internal HDX configuration located within the library, and assumes that there is an API key file called .hdxkey in the current user's home directory \~ and a YAML project configuration located relative to your working directory at config/project_configuration.yml which you must create. The project configuration is used for any configuration specific to your project.

The default logging configuration reads a configuration file internal to the library that sets up an coloured console handler outputting at INFO level and a file handler writing to errors.log at ERROR level.

Facades

The simple facade makes it easier to get up and running:

from hdx.facades.simple import facade

def main():
    ***YOUR CODE HERE***

if __name__ == "__main__":
    facade(main, CONFIGURATION_KWARGS)

The keyword arguments facade is similar but passes through keyword arguments:

from hdx.facades.keyword_arguments import facade

def main(kwparam1, kwparam2, ...,**ignore):
    ***YOUR CODE HERE***

if __name__ == "__main__":
    facade(main, CONFIGURATION_AND_OTHER_KWARGS)

Customising the Configuration

It is necessary to pass configuration parameters in the facade call eg.

facade(main, user_agent=USER_AGENT, hdx_site = HDX_SITE_TO_USE, hdx_read_only = ONLY_READ_NOT_WRITE, hdx_key_file = LOCATION_OF_HDX_KEY_FILE, hdx_config_yaml=PATH_TO_HDX_YAML_CONFIGURATION, project_config_dict = {"MY_PARAMETER", "MY_VALUE"})

If you do not use the facade, you can use the create method of the Configuration class directly, passing in appropriate keyword arguments ie.

from hdx.api.configuration import Configuration
...
Configuration.create([configuration], [user_agent], [user_agent_config_yaml], [remoteckan], KEYWORD ARGUMENTS)

You must supply a user agent using one of the following approaches:

  1. Populate parameter user_agent (which can simply be the name of your project)
  2. Supply user_agent_config_yaml which should point to a YAML file which contains a parameter user_agent
  3. Supply user_agent_config_yaml which should point to a YAML file and populate user_agent_lookup which is a key to look up in the YAML file which should be of form:

    myproject:
        user_agent: test
    myproject2:
        user_agent: test2
    
  4. Include user_agent in one of the configuration dictionaries or files outlined in the table below eg. hdx_config_json or project_config_dict.

KEYWORD ARGUMENTS can be:

Choose Argument Type Value Default
hdx_site Optional[str] HDX site to use eg. prod, feature test
hdx_read_only bool Read only or read/write access to HDX False
hdx_key Optional[str] HDX key (not needed for read only)
Above or one of: hdx_config_dict dict Dictionary with hdx_site, hdx_read_only, hdx_key
or hdx_config_json str Path to JSON configuration with values as above
or hdx_config_yaml str Path to YAML configuration with values as above
Zero or one of: project_config_dict dict Project specific configuration dictionary
or project_config_json str Path to JSON Project

To access the configuration, you use the read method of the Configuration class as follows:

Configuration.read()

For more advanced users, there are methods to allow you to pass in your own configuration object, remote CKAN object and list of valid locations. See the API documentation for more information.

This global configuration is used by default by the library but can be replaced by Configuration instances passed to the constructors of HDX objects like Dataset eg.

configuration = Configuration(KEYWORD ARGUMENTS)
configuration.setup_remoteckan(REMOTE CKAN OBJECT)
configuration.setup_validlocations(LIST OF VALID LOCATIONS)
dataset = Dataset(configuration=configuration)

Configuring Logging

If you use a facade from hdx.facades, then logging will go to console and errors to file. If you are not using a facade, you can call setup_logging  which takes an argument error_file which is False by default. If set to True, errors will be written to a file.

If not using facade:

from hdx.utilities.easy_logging import setup_logging
...
logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)
setup_logging(console_log_level="DEBUG", log_file="output.log", 
file_log_level="INFO")

To use logging in your files, simply add the line below to the top of each Python file:

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)

Then use the logger like this:

logger.debug("DEBUG message")
logger.info("INFORMATION message")
logger.warning("WARNING message")
logger.error("ERROR message")
logger.critical("CRITICAL error message")

Operations on HDX Objects

You can read an existing HDX object with the static read_from_hdx method which takes an identifier parameter and returns the an object of the appropriate HDX object type eg. Dataset or None depending upon whether the object was read eg.

dataset = Dataset.read_from_hdx("DATASET_ID_OR_NAME")

You can search for datasets and resources in HDX using the search_in_hdx method which takes a query parameter and returns the a list of objects of the appropriate HDX object type eg. list[Dataset]. Here is an example:

datasets = Dataset.search_in_hdx("QUERY", **kwargs)

The query parameter takes a different format depending upon whether it is for a dataset or a resource. The resource level search is limited to fields in the resource, so in most cases, it is preferable to search for datasets and then get their resources.

Various additional arguments (**kwargs) can be supplied. These are detailed in the API documentation. The rows parameter for datasets (limit for resources) is the maximum number of matches returned and is by default everything.

You can create an HDX Object, such as a dataset, resource, showcase, organization or user by calling the constructor with an optional dictionary containing metadata. For example:

from hdx.data.dataset import Dataset

dataset = Dataset({
    "name": slugified_name,
    "title": title
})

The dataset name should not contain special characters and hence if there is any chance of that, then it needs to be slugified. Slugifying is way of making a string valid within a URL (eg. ae replaces ä). There are various packages that can do this eg. python-slugify.

You can add metadata using the standard Python dictionary square brackets eg.

dataset["name"] = "My Dataset"

You can also do so by the standard dictionary update method, which takes a dictionary eg.

dataset.update({"name": "My Dataset"})

Larger amounts of static metadata are best added from files. YAML is very human readable and recommended, while JSON is also accepted eg.

dataset.update_from_yaml([path])

dataset.update_from_json([path])

The default path if unspecified is config/hdx_TYPE_static.yml for YAML and config/hdx_TYPE_static.json for JSON where TYPE is an HDX object's type like dataset or resource eg. config/hdx_showcase_static.json. The YAML file takes the following form:

owner_org: "acled"
maintainer: "acled"
...
tags:
    - name: "violence and conflict"
resources:
    -
      description: "Resource1"
      url: "http://resource1.xlsx"
      format: "xlsx"
...

Notice how you can define resources (each resource starts with a dash "-") within the file as shown above.

You can check if all the fields required by HDX are populated by calling check_required_fields. This will throw an exception if any fields are missing. Before the library posts data to HDX, it will call this method automatically. You can provide a list of fields to ignore in the check. An example usage:

resource.check_required_fields([ignore_fields])

Once the HDX object is ready ie. it has all the required metadata, you simply call create_in_hdx eg.

dataset.create_in_hdx(allow_no_resources, update_resources,
                      update_resources_by_name,
                      remove_additional_resources)

Existing HDX objects can be updated by calling update_in_hdx eg.

dataset.update_in_hdx(update_resources, update_resources_by_name,
                      remove_additional_resources)

You can delete HDX objects using delete_from_hdx and update an object that already exists in HDX with the method  update_in_hdx. These take various boolean parameters that all have defaults and are documented in the API docs. They do not return anything and they throw exceptions for failures like the object to update not existing.

Dataset Specific Operations

A dataset can have resources and can be in a showcase.

If you wish to add resources, you can supply a list and call the add_update_resources function, for example:

resources = [{
    "name": xlsx_resourcename,
    "format": "xlsx",
    "url": xlsx_url
 }, {
    "name": csv_resourcename,
    "format": "zipped csv",
    "url": csv_url
 }]
 for resource in resources:
     resource["description"] = resource["url"].rsplit("/", 1)[-1]
 dataset.add_update_resources(resources)

Calling add_update_resources creates a list of HDX Resource objects in dataset and operations can be performed on those objects.

To see the list of resources, you use the get_resources function eg.

resources = dataset.get_resources()

If you wish to add one resource, you can supply an id string, dictionary or Resource object and call the add_update_resource* function, for example:

dataset.add_update_resource(resource)

You can delete a Resource object from the dataset using the delete_resource function, for example:

dataset.delete_resource(resource)

You can get all the resources from a list of datasets as follows:

resources = Dataset.get_all_resources(datasets)

To see the list of showcases a dataset is in, you use the get_showcases function eg.

showcases = dataset.get_showcases()

If you wish to add the dataset to a showcase, you must first create the showcase in HDX if it does not already exist:

showcase = Showcase({"name": "new-showcase-1",
                     "title": "MyShowcase1",
                     "notes": "My Showcase",
                     "package_id": "6f36a41c-f126-4b18-aaaf-6c2ddfbc5d4d",
                     "image_display_url": "http://myvisual/visual.png",
                     "url": "http://visualisation/url/"})
showcase.create_in_hdx()

Then you can supply an id, dictionary or Showcase object and call the add_showcase function, for example:

dataset.add_showcase(showcase)

You can remove the dataset from a showcase using the remove_showcase function, for example:

dataset.remove_showcase(showcase)

Dataset Date

Dataset date is a mandatory field in HDX. This date is the date of the data in the dataset, not to be confused with when data was last added/changed in the dataset. It can be a single date or a range.

To get the dataset date, you can do as shown below. It returns a dictionary containing keys "startdate" (start date as datetime), "enddate" (end date as datetime), "startdate_str" (start date as string), "enddate_str" (end date as string) and ongoing (whether the end date is a rolls forward every day). You can supply a date format. If you don"t, the output format will be an ISO 8601 date eg. 2007-01-25.

dataset_date = dataset.get_date_of_dataset("OPTIONAL FORMAT")

To set the dataset date, you must pass either datetime.datetime objects or strings to the function below. It accepts a start date and an optional end date which if not supplied is assumed to be the same as the start date. Instead of the end date, the flag "ongoing" which by default is False can be set to True which indicates that the end date rolls forward every day.

dataset.set_date_of_dataset("START DATE", "END DATE")

The method below allows you to set the dataset's date using a year range. The start and end year can be supplied as integers or strings. If no end year is supplied then teh range will be from the beginning of the start year to the end of that year.

dataset.set_dataset_year_range(START YEAR, END YEAR)

Expected Update Frequency

HDX datasets have a mandatory field, the expected update frequency. This is your best guess of how often the dataset will be updated.

The HDX web interface uses set frequencies:

Every day
Every week
Every two weeks
Every month
Every three months
Every six months
Every year
Never

Although the API allows much greater granularity (a number of days), you are encouraged to use the options above (avoiding using Never if possible). To assist with this, you can use methods that allow this.

The following method will return a textual expected update frequency corresponding to what would be shown in the HDX web interface.

update_frequency = dataset.get_expected_update_frequency()

The method below allows you to set the dataset's expected update frequency using one of the set frequencies above. (It also allows you to pass a number of days as a string or integer, but this is discouraged.)

dataset.set_expected_update_frequency("UPDATE_FREQUENCY")

A list of valid update frequencies can be found using:

Dataset.list_valid_update_frequencies()

Transforming backwards and forwards between representations can be achieved with this function:

update_frequency = Dataset.transform_update_frequency("UPDATE_FREQUENCY")

Location

Each HDX dataset must have at least one location associated with it.

If you wish to get the current location(s) as ISO 3 country codes, you can call the method below:

locations = dataset.get_location_iso3s()

If you wish to get the current location name(s), you can call the method below:

locations = dataset.get_location_names()

If you want to add a country, you do as shown below. If you don't provide an ISO 3 country code, the text you give will be parsed and converted to an ISO 3 code if it is a valid country name.

dataset.add_country_location("ISO 3 COUNTRY CODE")

If you want to add a list of countries, the following method enables you to do it. If you don"t provide ISO 3 country codes, conversion will take place where valid country names are found.

dataset.add_country_locations(["ISO 3","ISO 3","ISO 3"...])

If you want to add a region, you do it as follows. If you don't provide a three digit UNStats M49 region code, then parsing and conversion will occur if a valid region name is supplied.

dataset.add_region_location("M49 REGION CODE")

add_region_location accepts regions, intermediate regions or subregions as specified on the UNStats M49 website.

If you want to add any other kind of location (which must be in this list of valid locations), you do as shown below.

dataset.add_other_location("LOCATION")

Tags

HDX datasets can have tags which help people to find them eg. "common operational dataset - cod", "refugees". These tags come from a predefined set of approved tags. There is a link to a list of approved tags in the Breaking Changes section earlier. If you add tags that are not in the approved list, the library attempts to map them to approved tags based on a spreadsheet of tag mappings.

If you wish to get the current tags, you can use this method:

tags = dataset.get_tags()

If you want to add a tag, you do it like this:

dataset.add_tag("TAG")

If you want to add a list of tags, you do it as follows:

dataset.add_tags(["TAG","TAG","TAG"...])

To obtain the predefined set of approved tags:

approved_tags = Vocabulary.approved_tags()

Maintainer

HDX datasets must have a maintainer.

If you wish to get the current maintainer, you can do this:

maintainer = dataset.get_maintainer()

If you want to set the maintainer, you do it like this:

dataset.set_maintainer(USER)

USER is either a string id, dictionary or a User object.

Organization

HDX datasets must be part of an organization.

If you wish to get the current organization, you can do this:

organization = dataset.get_organization()

If you want to set the organization, you do it like this:

dataset.set_organization(ORGANIZATION)

ORGANIZATION is either a string id, dictionary or an Organization object.

Resource Specific Operations

You can download a resource using the download function eg.

url, path = resource.download("FOLDER_TO_DOWNLOAD_TO")

If you do not supply FOLDER_TO_DOWNLOAD_TO, then a temporary folder is used.

Before creating or updating a resource, it is possible to specify the path to a local file to upload to the HDX filestore if that is preferred over hosting the file externally to HDX. Rather than the url of the resource pointing to your server or api, in this case the url will point to a location in the HDX filestore containing a copy of your file.

resource.set_file_to_upload(file_to_upload="PATH_TO_FILE")

There is a getter to read the value back:

file_to_upload = resource.get_file_to_upload()

Showcase Management

The Showcase class enables you to manage showcases, creating, deleting and updating (as for other HDX objects) according to your permissions.

To see the list of datasets a showcase is in, you use the get_datasets function eg.

datasets = showcase.get_datasets()

If you wish to add a dataset to a showcase, you call the add_dataset function, for example:

showcase.add_dataset(dataset)

You can remove the dataset from a showcase using the remove\dataset function, for example:

showcase.remove_dataset(dataset)

If you wish to get the current tags, you can use this method:

tags = showcase.get_tags()

If you want to add a tag, you do it like this:

showcase.add_tag("TAG")

If you want to add a list of tags, you do it as follows:

showcase.add_tags(["TAG","TAG","TAG"...])

User Management

The User class enables you to manage users, creating, deleting and updating (as for other HDX objects) according to your permissions.

You can email a user. First you need to set up an email server using a dictionary or file:

email_config_dict = {"connection_type": "TYPE", "host": "HOST",
                     "port": PORT, "username": USERNAME,
                     "password": PASSWORD}
Configuration.read().setup_emailer(email_config_dict=email_config_dict)

Then you can email a user like this:

user.email("SUBJECT", "BODY", sender="SENDER EMAIL")

You can email multiple users like this:

User.email_users(LIST_OF_USERS, "SUBJECT", "BODY", sender="SENDER EMAIL")

Organization Management

The Organization class enables you to manage organizations, creating, deleting and updating (as for other HDX objects) according to your permissions.

You can get the datasets in an organization as follows:

datasets = organization.get_datasets(**kwargs)

Various additional arguments (**kwargs) can be supplied. These are detailed in the API documentation.

You can get the users in an organization like this:

users = organization.get_users("OPTIONAL FILTER")

OPTIONAL FILTER can be member, editor, admin.

You can add or update a user in an organization as shown below:

organization.add_update_user(USER)

You need to include a capacity field in the USER where capacity is member, editor, admin.

You can add or update multiple users in an organization as follows:

organization.add_update_users([LIST OF USERS])

You can delete a user from an organization:

organization.delete_user("USER ID")

Vocabulary Management

The Vocabulary class enables you to manage CKAN vocabularies, creating, deleting and updating (as for other HDX objects) according to your permissions.

You can optionally initialise a Vocabulary with dictionary, name and tags:

vocabulary = Vocabulary(name="myvocab", tags=["TAG","TAG","TAG"...])
vocabulary = Vocabulary({"name": "myvocab", tags=[{"name": TAG"}, {"name": TAG"}...])

If you wish to get the current tags, you can use this method:

tags = vocabulary.get_tags()

If you want to add a tag, you do it like this:

vocabulary.add_tag("TAG")

If you want to add a list of tags, you do it as follows:

vocabulary.add_tags(["TAG","TAG","TAG"...])

Working Example

Here we will create a working example from scratch.

First, pip install the library or alternatively add it to a requirements.txt file if you are comfortable with doing so as described above.

Next create a file called run.py and copy into it the code below.

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
"""
Calls a function that generates a dataset and creates it in HDX.

"""
import logging
from hdx.facades.simple import facade
from .my_code import generate_dataset

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)


def main():
    """Generate dataset and create it in HDX"""

    dataset = generate_dataset()
    dataset.create_in_hdx()

if __name__ == "__main__":
    facade(main, hdx_site="test")

The above file will create in HDX a dataset generated by a function called generate_dataset that can be found in the file my_code.py which we will now write.

Create a file my_code.py and copy into it the code below:

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
"""
Generate a dataset

"""
import logging
from hdx.data.dataset import Dataset

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)


def generate_dataset():
    """Create a dataset
    """
    logger.debug("Generating dataset!")

You can then fill out the function generate_dataset as required.

ACLED Example

A complete example can be found here: https://github.com/OCHA-DAP/hdxscraper-acled

In particular, take a look at the files run.py, acled.py and the config folder. If you run it unchanged, it will overwrite the existing datasets in the ACLED organisation! Therefore, you should run it against a test server. If you use it as a basis for your code, you will need to modify the dataset name in acled.py and change the organisation information to your organisation. Also update metadata in config/hdx_dataset_static.yml appropriately.

The ACLED scraper creates a dataset per country in HDX, populating all the required metadata. It then creates resources that point to ACLED API via the HXL proxy which adds HXL hashtags on the fly.

The first iteration of the ACLED scraper was written without the HDX Python library and it became clear looking at this and previous work by others that there are operations that are frequently required and which add unnecessary complexity to the task of coding against HDX. Simplifying the interface to HDX drove the development of the Python library and the second iteration of the scraper was built using it. ACLED went from producing files to creating an API, so a third iteration was developed.

With the interface using HDX terminology and mapping directly on to datasets, resources and showcases, the ACLED scraper was faster to develop and is much easier to understand for someone inexperienced in how it works and what it is doing. The extensive logging and transparent communication of errors is invaluable and enables action to be taken to resolve issues as quickly as possible. The static metadata for ACLED is held in human readable files so if it needs to be modified, it is straightforward. This is another feature of the HDX Python library that makes putting data programmatically into HDX a breeze.