Datapkg Manual

datapkg is a tool for easily distributing data using the ‘packaging’ concept, which is well established in software distribution. Full documentation can be found at:

  1. Quickstart
  2. Tutorial

NB: in what follows items prefixed with $ should be run on the command line.

1. Quickstart

Obtaining a Package

Search for a package in an Index e.g. on

# let's search for iso country/language codes data (iso 3166 ...)
$ datapkg search ckan:// iso
iso-3166-2-data -- Linked ISO 3166-2 Data

Get some information about one of them:

$ datapkg info ckan://iso-3166-2-data

Let’s download it (to the current directory):

$ datapkg download ckan://iso-3166-2-data .

This will download the Package ‘iso-3166-2-data’ together with its “Resources” and unpack it into a directory named ‘iso-3166-2-data’.

Note: we specify packages using ‘package specs’ like ‘ckan://{name}. For more on package ‘specs’ as they are called see the dedicated section below.

Note that, if you replace the ckan:// spec with a file:// spec, you can use most of the commands for files on disk. For example, if you’ve downloaded a data package to, say, /tmp/xyz you could do:

$ datapkg info file:///tmp/xyz

See the help on indivdual commands for more information.

Creating and Registering a Package

Create a new data Package on disk using datapkg file layout:

$ datapkg create MyNewDataPackage

Edit the Package’s metadata:

$ vim MyNewDataPackage/

Add some data to the Package:

$ cp mydata.csv MyNewDataPackage
$ cp mydata.js MyNewDataPackage
$ etc ...

Register it on CKAN:

# NB: to register on CKAN you'll need to have an api-key
# This can either be stored in your config file (see datapkg init config)
# Or you can set it with the --api-key option
$ datapkg register file://MyNewDataPackage ckan://

Check it has registered ok:

$ datapkg info ckan://mynewdatapkg

You can also upload associated package resources to a storage system. For example, to register {your-file} with the default storage system associated to CKAN in a bucket named after {yourpackagename}:

# this requires you have created your default datapkgrc config file
$ datapkg upload {your-file} ckan://{yourpackagename}/{filename}

2. Tutorial

datapkg has two distinct uses:

  1. Finding and obtaining data made available by others.
  2. Making material available to others.

Basic Concepts

Before we begin it is useful to understand some basic datapkg concepts:

  1. A Package – the ‘package’ of data.
  2. A Distribution – a serialization of the Package and optionally the data too (code, database, a book etc) to some concretely addressable form. For example: file(s) on disk, an API at a specific url.

For managing Packages datapkg uses:

  1. A Registry: a list of Package metadata (but not Package payload data)
  2. Repository: a Registry plus associated storage for association Distributions.

Package Specs (Specifications)

To specify a package (or just an index/repository) we often use a ‘package spec’ (often termed just ‘spec’), which have the following url-like form:

# for CKAN
# on disk

The use of a ‘naked’ spec, i.e. one without any scheme such as ckan:// or file://, like ‘mypackage’ is used for referring to packages with regard to the default package index.

1. Obtaining Material

1.1 [Optional] Set Up Configuration

You may want to alter the default configuration, for example to specify your CKAN apikey. To do this, first set up your local config:

$ datapkg init config

This will create a .datapkgrc file in your home directory. You can then edit this with your favourite text editor.

1.2 Locating and Installing Material

See Quickstart section above.

2. Making Your Material Available to Others

2.1 Creating a package (distribution)

First a skeletal distribution on disk:

$ datapkg create {pkg-name-or-path}

Take a look inside your newly created distribution directory. There should be 1 file:

1. metadata.txt. This is an ini-style file that contains metadata in the form of Key: Value.

Having sorted out the metadata you will actually want to add some material to your package. You do this by simply copying material into the distribution directory, e.g.:

$ cd {my-new-package}
$ cp {lots-of-my-data-files} .

2. Register your package

Now you have created a package you will want to make it available.

You can either do this by registering it on a public registry such as CKAN or, more simply, you can just upload it somewhere and point people to that location.

Once that is done you register the package on CKAN by doing:

$ datapkg register file://{path} ckan://

3. Installing your package

You can also download a distribution (only onto disk at the moment!):

$ datapkg download {package-spec} {path-on-disk}

3. For Developers

The easiest thing (which also guarantees up-to-date-ness) is to look through the unit tests in ./datapkg/tests/