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I'm making my first jump into data-mining Stack Overflow. I'd like to run a query that returns results into a blog post I make. I see there is a Stack Exchange Data Explorer, and there is an odata approach as well.

I'd like to know which of these is the fastest path to achieving HTML results that can be dumped directly into a blog post, or loaded into an Iframe?

I'm also curious which approach allows me to create queries that, when executed, will prompt for inputs. I've made the following test query., but there is no prompt for parameters. Perhaps as useful or more useful than being prompted, is there an approach that allows me to specify the parameters as query string values? Do I need to switch to the odata portal to achieve that kind of result?

Actually, I notice that the permalink I created to write this question - might itself be an example of what I can embed in an iframe (hmmmmm).

Finally, how often is the public data from Stack Exchange updated? I have the impression it is two to three months behind...

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I'd like to know which of these is the fastest path to achieving HTML results that can be dumped directly into a blog post, or loaded into an Iframe?

There's also an API, so I guess the answer to this question depends on what exactly you want to do, and whether or not the content is meant to be static at the time you publish the blog post.

In all cases though, none of the options really give you something you can directly copy+paste, so there's likely going to have to be some additional manipulation involved on your part. With respect to the API, there may be something on StackApps that could help, but I'm not sure.

I'm also curious which approach allows me to create queries that, when executed, will prompt for inputs.

You can use the ##<name>:<type>?<default>## syntax to have Data Explorer prompt for variables. For instance, in this query you're prompted for a user ID, which must be an integer (the system also tries to auto-fill this specific variable, based on the name, if it can guess your user ID on the selected site).

Only the name is required, the other pieces are optional.

Finally, how often is the public data from Stack Exchange updated? I have the impression it is two to three months behind...

It is currently a few months behind, yes. Data updates have been put on hold due to issues with the new SQL Server 2012 rollout, but once those are resolved the goal is to have the data updated on a weekly basis.

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