We’re inviting government organisations (both local and central) to post details of their APIs on GitHub so we can improve the picture we have of development taking place across government and the types of data sharing occurring.
Why we need more transparency and consistency in the API space
Even though there’s more cross-government working in the API space than ever before, there are still many cases of government organisations developing APIs in isolation. This can lead to the government solving the same problem multiple times, often in different ways.
GDS, along with the API and Data Exchange cross-government community, maintains a set of API Standards and API design guidance, and holds regular API events, all in order to agree common standards and the sharing of best practice. Collaborating on a list of APIs should create more transparency in the development space, and should further help government development teams communicate with each other about challenges and approaches.
Publishing an open list of government APIs is an approach increasingly common internationally. At a recent API event, Canada’s Office of the Chief Information Officer presented on its cross-government API Store.
The Canadian API Store is a catalogue of government APIs to increase findability, and is a collaborative effort across government. Users can discover services or data through the API Store to help the Canadian government’s ‘tell us once' programme of work.
Other governments running similar projects include the US government 18F delivery service, the French government, and the Italian regional government of Umbria.
How to add your API to the collaborative catalogue
Adding your API to the catalogue is quick and easy.
- Open a GitHub Issue.
- Include a link to your API’s base URL and documentation.
- Submit the GitHub issue for review.
The catalogue is limited to APIs that exist between government organisations, or between government organisations and industry, or that publish open data.
How you can feedback on this work
We will run a feedback session at one of the next API events to see how departments and local government find contributing to the list. Our next API meetup is in Newcastle and will be hosted by DWP and open to both government employees and suppliers. If you want to attend, you can sign up on the Eventbrite page.
Alternatively you can reach out to us in the comments below or send an email to our Service, Design and Assurance team.
Comment by John Fitzpatrick posted on
It's great to see these being published and more accessible. From experience there's work to be done on ensuring they are properly managed. We've had examples in service teams where a Department's API's have gone down and the service team who created it no longer exist. There have also been issues on scaling when they've been designed and tested for a service but have struggled to scale. I'm sure these things will have been picked up by the service team leading the work but happy to share information if not.