Tag Archives: APIs
20%: In order to open up data for developer use, agencies are implementing APIs. This position makes you a writer for the code channel of the DigitalGov platform which focuses on ways agencies are releasing APIs and using code for their digital efforts. Once a week we will feature a post on an API an agency has implemented or other useful information. Posts should be composed in less than an hour to help keep focus on simplicity and speed.
Throughout this past year, the National Archives and Federal agencies have been working to implement the Digital Government Strategy by improving digital services to better serve you.
We’ve worked toward specific milestones that improve access to government information and we launched Archives.gov/digitalstrategy to report on our progress. We sought your ideas for improvement in August and now you can see our progress toward making available mobile appsand web APIs.
Mobile: We’ve mobile optimized FederalRegister.gov, released a mobile site for Presidential Documents, and a mobile app called “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” which makes available photos, documents, and recordings from the related exhibit.
Presidential Docs Mobile Site
To the Brink Mobile App
Web APIs: We’ve expanded the FederalRegister.gov API to include the Public Inspection Desk and integration with Regulations.gov. We’ve also included created an interactive dataset and API for Executive Orders from 1994 to 2012 on Data.gov.
We continue to increase the records we make available on sites like Wikipedia and Flickr, which have robust mobile and web API capabilities. These projects, in addition to our work on the Digital Public Library of America, greatly expand public access to government records.
Engaging Developers: We launched Archives.gov/developer to promote innovative uses of our data and tools in the public and private sectors. We’re participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking on June 1-2, 2013, by sponsoring several challenges related to visualizing historical datasets and developing a mobile app for researchers to easily upload digital images of historical records. We’re looking forward to see what innovative solutions might be developed by the public.
All of our efforts, however, are only a piece of the larger Federal Government effort to improve digital services. You can check out other agencies’ developer hubs and new mobile services and APIs, including a new API for the State Department’s Office of the Historian Ebook Catalog, which contains all of the ebooks from the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.
The Digital Government Strategy, which was published on May 23, 2012, set out to accomplish three things:
- Enable the American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.
- Ensure that as the government adjusts to this new digital world, we seize the opportunity to procure and manage devices, applications, and data in smart, secure and affordable ways.
- Unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across our Nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.
In order to better communicate with the public, HUD is making information available through multiple formats and increasing access to services on mobile devices. Our goal is to make our services and information available anywhere, anytime, and on any device, and in formats that facilitate additional use by public developers and entrepreneurs.
To date, we have released two APIs, which are located at www.hud.gov/developer. The Housing Counselor Web Service allows searching by name, city, state, and current location to find information regarding Housing Counseling Agencies. The Section 3 Business Lookup allows searching by location, zip code, and business type to find information on Section 3 businesses. To learn about Section 3, visit.
These APIs are for public use and are intended to provide developers, researches, entrepreneurs and others with the ability to access HUD data in ways that make it easier to use and program. The release of this data, in alignment with the new Open Data Policy, will help achieve the goal of making previously inaccessible or unmanageable data easily available to entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers, and others who can use the data to generate new products and services, build businesses, and create jobs.
Today, nearly 50% of American adults own a smart phone. In May of last year, when the Digital Government Strategy was released, that number was only 35% of adults. Recently, HUD launched the first housing discrimination app to provide the public with a quick, easy and safe way to learn about their fair housing rights and, whenever necessary, file fair housing complaints. The housing discrimination app is available in the iTunes store.
The Fair Market Rents app, which is a map-based app that allows users to search Fair Market Rents and income limits by current location or by metropolitan area, county, zip code and/or address is also available to the public. The app may be downloaded from HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research’s website.
Reposted from The HUDdle blog of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The 21st century imperative to deliver government information and services to the public anytime, anywhere and on any device makes mobile a critical tactic in the federal Digital Government Strategy. Today, GSA’s Digital Services Innovation Center and the Federal CIO Council launch the Mobile Application Development Program to provide agencies with tools they need to make great mobile products available to the public.
The program–developed with and by 25 agencies across government–will help agencies in each stage of mobile development.
- Plan –Build a mobile strategy, see what other agencies have done, use new acquisitions tools to find top mobile developers.
- Develop –Create great mobile apps and sites using mobile user experience guidelines. Jump start development by leveraging pre-existing code.
- Test –Make sure your app works on all devices by leveraging automated and in the wild testing support. Test for security & accessibility.
- Launch –Let people know yours is an official government app by registering it. Get your app in the app stores and leverage API’s for promoting your apps.
What’s In It?
The program is chock full of useful resources and tools. For starters there is
- The Mobile Code Sharing Catalog provides agency mobile developers with whole frameworks for a mobile web site, modular code to solve common problems, and open-sourced apps to modify or use as a template. AND, agencies and other developers can submit code for reuse.
- RFP-EZ helps link agencies and small businesses for tech projects below $150,000–definitely a sweet spot for many mobile products. The idea is to help agencies reach the talent in startups more quickly and at reasonable cost. We worked with the RFP-EZ team at SBA to include mobile statement of work templates. Now when agencies create a new project in RFP-EZ, they can jumpstart their efforts by choosing the “Mobile Application Development” project type.
- Agencies can easily create mobile ready websites using Sites.USA.gov. This GSA-hosted content management tool supports open content, is secure, compliant and uses only responsive themes that work well on any-sized screen.
The Federal Apps Registry helps verify that apps and mobile sites are actually government mobile products–and provides an API so agencies can easily create galleries around their mission areas.
Just Do It
You can use these and many more tools and resources today. And, you can join us for a discussion about the Mobile Application Development Program May 30th at our webinar, or come see us live later that day at our Mobile Gov Wikithon.
Last, we need YOU to help us as we continue to develop new tools to help you develop citizen-focused mobile products. Tell us what you need at email@example.com.
“I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives?” President Obama posed this question as a challenge to federal agencies, and we’ve taken that challenge seriously at the Labor Department.
On a personal level, I’m hardly a “techie” − but I appreciate how technology has made my life better in so many ways. That’s why I want to share some of the behind-the-scenes work of my agency, the department’s Office of Public Affairs, in the area of technical innovation.
First, it’s important to understand application programming interfaces, known as APIs. (Here’s a great explanation.) The easiest way to think about APIs is that they allow developers in the public and private sectors to build apps, widgets and websites based on government data. Anyone with development skills and a little creativity can use an API to tap into an agency’s data and repackage it as a useful smartphone app or other tool.
Since we published a department-wide API two years ago, developers across the country have used it to create apps that educate users about workplace safety and health, employers’ compliance with wage and hour laws, and improving employment opportunities for disabled workers, just to name a few!
Releasing data through an API was a big step forward, but it was not exactly groundbreaking. However, since then, my team has been working hard to develop software development kits that are truly innovative because they make using our API even easier.
These kits (also known as SDKs) contain application code for six different platforms − iOS, Android, Blackberry, .Net, PHP and Ruby − that anyone creating a mobile or Web-based app using our data could incorporate. By using the kits, experienced developers will save time and novice developers will be able to work with DOL data in just a few minutes.
And that’s not all − our innovation went a step further. Other federal agencies have their own APIs, and for a variety of technical and business reasons, many have very different requirements for using their APIs. Mike Pulsifer, a federal employee in my office, together with contractors Chuck Brouse, Patrick Johnson and Wendell Hatcher, just finished updating our kits to work with APIs across the federal government. Now developers can easily combine data from the Labor Department with data from 26 other agencies and multi-agency programs. That’s a lot of data!
All of these kits can be downloaded from our developer site. Additionally, in keeping with the federal digital government strategy, each has been published as an open source project ongithub, a popular code-sharing site. For a list of federal APIs that are supported by our kits, check the github repository’s wiki page. This list will be updated as the kits are tested with additional federal APIs.
Our work is helping the government be more efficient and keep up with constantly changing technology. But most importantly, investing in this kind of technology to create a more open government is a priority for us because it empowers you. As the president has said, “we must never forget who our customers are − the American people.”
Reblogged from the Department of Labor’s (Work in Progress) blog.
Agencies have been working away at building better digital services and here, at the Digital Services Innovation Center, we’ve been building resources to help.
We have been focusing on three areas,
1. The Digital Analytics Program. We announced this program in early October to help agencies better measure performance and customer satisfaction to improve service delivery. It includes digital metrics guidance and best practices, training and a federal-wide Web analytics tool and support. We are rolling out the code for the tool to all agencies now. See more on the Digital Analytics Program and supercharge your analytics.
2. Open Content Management. To support infrastructure and content needs across the federal government, we developed a CMS toolkit with resources to help agencies choose, design and migrate to a content management system (CMS). A CMS not only helps agencies efficiently manage their online content, but also can help them move to an open content model, making it easier for people to find, share, use, and re-use government information. And, for agencies who need a government policy-compliant platform and hosting solution, we’ve alpha launched sites.usa.gov, an enterprise-ready CMS service in the cloud. We’re happy to help you get started.
3. API Resources. APIs have been called the “secret sauce” for digital services. They help open information (content and data) so it can be reused inside and outside of government. We’re helping agencies build out APIs by building out knowledge. Agencies can use the API Toolkit to learn API basics and see examples of APIs in government. We’ve also sponsored a six-part (and growing) API webinar series.
But much more important than the parts, is how this is working together to improve the service that government provides. Agencies are working on building out APIs and developer resources, like Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services. They are making services available via mobile like solutions being offered by USDA and the Government Printing Office. And some are doing both at the same time, like the Census Bureau at the Department of Commerce.
Let us know what else you need, and what you have(!) to help build the future of anytime, anywhere and any device government.
As part of the Digital Strategy, the Department of Energy is making more high-value data sets available through Application Program Interfaces (APIs) – helping programmers develop new opportunities, services and products for citizens. Additionally, these data sets and APIs are now housed on cloud-based servers, helping us to provide easy, scalable access to the public.
Moving our data sets to the cloud builds on the important steps the Energy Department has taken to advance cost-effective, secure cloud-hosted infrastructure solutions. For example, we have also moved our Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to the cloud to streamline operations. We are also adding data utility rates, hydrogen, energy apps and datasets to Open EI, an open-data source for a wide range of energy information. A few of our newest data sets include:
- The underlying data behind the Alternative Fueling Station Locator, which provides location-based alternative fuel station data for biodiesel, natural gas, propane, electric, hydrogen and ethanol.
- The DOE Green Energy API, offering data from research and development conducted by the Energy Department’s National Laboratories as well as university projects supported by the Department. The website provides two data sets on renewable energy and energy efficiency technical reports and patents.
- The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Electricity API provides over 500,000 data points on generation, fuel quality, fuel consumption, and retail sales by generation plant and by state.
Learn more about the Energy Department’s work on the Digital Strategy.
This entry was reposted from the HHS.gov Digital Strategy Blog.
Have you heard about assets.cms.gov? Probably not, but if you work on or use CMS’ websites, it is a tool you use every day.
The Web & New Media Group (WNMG) started building assets.cms.gov about 10 months ago and completed the full launch of the site as part of the Medicare.gov redesign on August 21, 2012.
assets.cms.gov represents a shared code library for all of CMS’ public websites. As websites (ours and everyone else’s!) have grown in complexity over the past decade, they have come to be built on many common code and image libraries. These include the following file types:
- Website headers & footers
- CSS (stylesheet) files
- Shared images
- HTML snippets
Many of these files are developed by CMS and/or contractors, but there are also many common code libraries used across almost all commercial and Federal websites these days. Common libraries used by CMS include:
- Twitter Bootstrap
- YUI (Yahoo! User Interface Library)
By placing all of these common code files onto assets.cms.gov, we can use the same code across all of CMS’ websites. assets.cms.gov supports both a global directory of assets used across all websites as well as folders for site-specific code libraries (e.g., www.cms.gov, www.medicare.gov, etc.).
Some of the benefits of this approach include:
- The ability to cache files across all of CMS’ websites, resulting in better website performance
- The ability to release new versions of code libraries across all websites at once
- A common set of code built & tested to Section 508 compliance and cross-browser performance
I’ve mentioned how WNMG is using assets.cms.gov to support development of the public websites, but any CMS web-based project can be built against the assets.cms.gov framework. Using assets.cms.gov for your web project gains you all of the benefits above and also saves you development time by leveraging the work that has already been done.
assets.cms.gov Documentation & Downloads are available online. We are continuing to iterate and grow the amount of documentation online, so please check back frequently.
If you are interested in using assets.cms.gov for a web development project you are working on, please let us know in the comments. We are happy to address any questions you have or to provide additional information. Your feedback will help make this project better!
Please post all comments/feedback on the original HHS post.
Editor’s Note: We are featuring the work agencies are doing keeping with the letter and spirit of the Digital Strategy. This is on the value of APIs.
HHS has collected more than 284 datasets at healthdata.gov and the inventory is currently growing by almost 100 per year. Thirty-three of these databases are already API enabled. One of the largest is the HealthCare Finder API, which opens multiple data collections covering public and private health insurance plans.
U.S. News & World Report uses the HHS HealthCare Finder API to create a tool to help consumers find the Best Health Insurance Plans for their specific needs. Their web-based Best Health Insurance Plans rates plans based on coverage and costs (both monthly and out-of-pocket), and makes it easy for users to find plans top-rated plans available to them. “We at U.S. News are thrilled to have access to the HealthCare Finder API and the important health insurance data it makes publicly available,” said Ben Harder, General Manager of Health Rankings at U.S. News. “Using the API, U.S. News has rated thousands of health plans across America, making it easier for individuals and families to compare their options and make better insurance-purchasing decisions.”
Other APIs provide access to information on the quality of provider care, the quality of hospital and nursing home care, a directory of federally qualified health centers, National Library of Medicine and Medline Plus resources, cancer incidence, FDA recalls, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s TOXMAP (Healthdata.gov includes datasets from across the U.S. Government).
Yesterday marked three months since the release of the Digital Government Strategy and agencies have been making great strides in meeting the milestones toward building a 21st Century Government. In his blog, Building-blocks of a 21st Century Digital Government, Steve Van Roekel said
Executing on this vision of government cannot happen alone. To provide the highest value of services, we must rethink from step one how government builds and provides services for the American people. We must unlock rich government data, information and services so that everyone from citizen developers and private sector entrepreneurs, to our very own Federal agencies can help provide the American people with the access to these services “anywhere, anytime, on any device.”
This blog was released in conjunction with the milestones deliverables page where you can find:
- /digitalstrategy pages – where agencies will be posting candidate data sets and services that they will mobilize or make available via API
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Toolkit – that includes key considerations, best practices, and examples of existing policies from successful BYOD programs launched at forward-leaning agencies.
- Governance Recommendations – guidance for agencies to stand up effective digital services governance structures consistent with Milestone Action #4.2. Read about the Agile “Sprinting” that took place to get there.
- Performance Metrics Guidance & Tools – to enable data-driven decisions on service performance, Milestone Action #8.2. Read Jim Wilson’s Meeting the Metrics Milestone blog about how NASA’s working on this now.
- Report on Mobile Security from National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) summarizes forthcoming publications on managing and securing mobile devices and information on how NIST’s standards and guidelines should be used in the mobile landscape.
What’s your agency doing to meet the milestones? Let us know about the great work you are doing, and remember to check out the Digital Services Innovation Center webpage and HowTo.gov digital strategy milestone page for guidance, resources, and training.
This entry was reblogged from the NARAtions blog.
On May 23, 2012, the White House released the Digital Government Strategy, which outlines how all federal agencies will work to make information and services easily accessible on the internet, anytime, anywhere, and on any device. President Barack Obama said,
“Ultimately, this Strategy will ensure that agencies use emerging technologies to serve the public as effectively as possible. As a government, and as a trusted provider of services, we must never forget who our customers are – the American people.”
At the National Archives, we are working to make our data and information available to you.
Weigh in and let us know what you’d like us to focus on.
We’ve developed two lists. The first list is for proposed services to optimize for mobile use, so you can better access these services via a smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device. The second list is for systems to enable via Web Services like APIs, so that the data will be more accessible, especially for developers to reuse. Candidates were selected based on the possibility of implementation by May 2013. Please also let us know what additional candidates you would like to see optimized for mobile or enabled via APIs in the future.
In the comments below, please let us know what you would like to prioritized and specific recommendations for what will be most useful to you. If you prefer, you can email your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed Mobile Candidates:
- Mobile optimize FederalRegister.gov.
- Develop a mobile application based on the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents.
- Mobile optimize Archives.gov.
- Mobile optimize the Online Public Access resource, the online public portal for National Archives records.
- Make additional National Archives records available through Wikipedia, which is mobile optimized and available through mobile apps.
- Make additional National Archives records available through Flickr, which is mobile optimized and available through mobile apps.
- Make improvements to Today’s Document mobile application.
- Make improvements to the mobile application for DocsTeach, an online educational resource featuring National Archives records.
- Integration of Regulations.gov API into FederalRegister.gov and its API. This integration would provide greater access to public comments and supporting documents in Regulations.gov, and improve process for submitting public comments from FederalRegister.gov to Regulations.gov.
- Expand the FederalRegister.gov API to include the “Public Inspection Desk.”
- Develop an API for FDsys through the Office of Federal Register – Government Printing Office Partnership.
- Develop an API for the Online Public Access resource, the online public portal for National Archives records.
- Make additional National Archives records available through Wikipedia, which is accessible through the MediaWiki API.
- Make additional National Archives records available through Flickr, which is accessible through the Flickr API.
Please leave your comments for NARA on the original NARAtions blog post.
This entry is reposted from the HHS Digitalk Blog
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel released the federal government’s new digital strategy which aims to shift the way government information is accessed and consumed. Instead of focusing on producing a final product, which has been common practice for years, the government will now be making content more accurate, available and secure. One major tool in the information technology tool box being used to achieve this goal is the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
An API is a set of tools for building software applications. But more importantly, an API makes information more accessible. This is important for two reasons.
First, the use of APIs makes it easier to replicate government information across more places than ever before. APIs enable automatic updates of information when content is syndicated on other websites, while reducing actual person hours currently spent manually updating content.
Second, APIs make information and data easily available to developers, who can create Web and mobile applications that make information increasingly more useful to the public. We have already seen the benefits of liberating vast amounts of data through the Department of Health and Human Service’s Open Government Health Data Initiative, hundreds of applications like My Cancer Genome, HealthGrades,Archimedes’ IndiGO, and the Healthy Communities Network which have been developed for individuals, communities and service providers. HHS has been liberating vast amounts of its data, many of which have APIs and are on HealthData.gov.
As the government changes the way it does business—making content and Web APIs the new default—government information and data will be more open, accessible and useful for the public. This strategy will open doors for communication and give everyone the opportunity to use government information in a more meaningful way.
I am part of a team that is looking at ways to enhance the Department’s digital services and respond to the White House’s Digital Government Strategy. We are spearheading a new initiative to make more of the data ED publishes open and developer-friendly via web application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs allow web developers to pull data from one or more API-enabled sources into another website, application, or mobile app. It makes sharing information more fluid and current. Check out the currently available 16 ED datasets with APIs on ED.gov.
The Department of Education and the White House are reaching out to developers interested in working with education open data. The Data Jam held in June kicked off development of projects and tools to be presented at an Education Datapalooza event to be held at the White House in October 2012. Datapalooza will be an opportunity to highlight tools and services that leverage open educational data sets (education.data.gov), individual electronic student data (MyData), and data about learning content (Learning Registry) to improve student choices around learning. Datapalooza will be streamed live (and posted online afterwards) for anyone who wants to participate. Email the team at email@example.com more details about the event plans, or if you are currently working/interested in working on open educational data integrations.
But Datapalooza is only the first step to engage the public. We want to hear from you – developers and all of our customers. Tell us which ED data sets and online tools have data that should be more open. Great ideas come from everywhere. If you have an idea for an app that would help you and the public access certain types of information, let us know. Your input will help us prioritize the suggestions made here and some of the ideas we already have in mind.
To get the conversation started, here are a few datasets that could be enabled through API:
- Program Information Publication System (in development, currently program pages on ED.gov)
- ED Facts
- State Education Data Profiles
- College Navigator
- Student Aid Data
- School Data
- Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Lender and Guaranty Agency Reports
- ED Pubs
Comments open on this blog post will be open through August 20. Our team plans to analyze your feedback and set out a plan for making more of our websites and tools more mobile in the coming months.
Thanks for taking the time to tell us what you think!
No Comments for this post. Be sure to follow THIS LINK to provide feedback to the Department of Education.
September 6-7, 2012 / FCC Commission Meeting Room and Training Rooms | TW-C305, 445 12th Street S.W., Washington, DC
On September 6 and 7, 2012 the FCC’s Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I) will be hosting the “Developing with Accessibility,” event at the FCC’s headquarters. The event is designed to spur increased collaboration on accessibility solutions among developers from industry, consumer, and government sectors. The event will encourage the use of accessibility APIs (application programming interfaces), as well as publicly available data sets, in order to build accessible apps for mobile phones and websites. One of the key objectives is to promote the concept and practice of developing applications within accepted accessibility guidelines, thereby maximizing their usability for everyone, including people with disabilities.
The event will offer training on development topics, in-person collaboration on programming projects, and professional networking among developers. The event will be collaborative in electronic spaces before, during, and after the event. Rather than limit this to accomplishments that can be achieved during a single, in-person event, this Developer event is not intended to be an end in itself, but will instead serve as an organizing opportunity to create mechanisms for ongoing collaboration among developers who are interested in building accessible technology solutions.
It is also a goal of the A&I to make smart use of new media tools to create electronic spaces for such collaboration. We encourage others to also activate online collaboration spaces associated with this effort. To this end, we suggest use of hashtag, #DevAcc as a tag that facilitates searching and coordination of the upcoming events on the web, Facebook, Twitter, & other new media outlets.
If there are particular ways that you’d like to participate, or related activities that you’d like to inform us about, also feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting site is fully accessible to people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Open captioning and assistive listening devices will be provided on site. Other reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Include a description of the accommodation you will need and tell us how to contact you if we need more information. Make your request as early as possible. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Send an e-mail to: email@example.com or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
The general session of the event will be webcast with open captioning at http://www.fcc.gov/live.
You need resources, and we are here to help with an excellent new webinar series to jump start your agency’s digital gov efforts.
Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, allow developers to get creative with an agency’s data—from making content mobile ready to innovative mashups. API’s are an important data element agencies need to address when implementing the Digital Gov Strategy. Today, we are introducing an API Webinar series to get you on your way to conquering them!
On Thursday, July 19 we will host API Webinar Series Part I: APIs for Dummies–an Introduction to APIs.
In this first installment of our API webinar series, experts from NASA and the CDC will explain what APIs are, why they are important, and how they are covered in the Digital Government Strategy. This webinar will be moderated by Gray Brooks, Senior API Strategist at GSA’s Digital Services Innovation Center.
What You’ll Learn
- What an API is
- API examples and practices from the private and public sectors
- What the Digital Government Strategy says about APIs
- How your agency can get started
When: Thursday, July 19, 10 a.m.-11a.m. EST
Reblogged from Mobile Gov Blog.