Resources and Tools for APIs
Hosted API Tools
Labs.Data.gov is a repository of shared services to prototype and provide developer resources to government agencies. Each tool uses Web services and lightweight, open source code to provide powerful functionality. Agencies are encouraged to improve any project and submit pull requests in order to share the improvements with others.
API Standards Template
With the open source release of the White House’s API Standards template, agencies have a complete model for API design and best practices that includes the best practices and agreed–upon norms of the developer community. Agencies are encouraged to use these standards for their own API production, modifying them as needed, but otherwise normalizing their APIs with those of other agencies and the private sector.
Examples of APIs in Government
- APIs That Power Agency-Built Mobile Apps—CDC’s Content API, Census Bureau economic APIs, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SaferBus API
- APIs That Power Agency Websites—GSA’s Social Media Registry API, FCC’s National Broadband Map APIs
- Single Endpoint API Set—Department of Labor
- Website Content APIs—CDC, FCC, SBA
- For more examples, note the individual APIs within agency’s developer hubs
API Education Series
- APIs for Dummies—An Introduction to APIs
- Case Studies from the FCC, FAA, and Department of Labor
- Case Studies from the Federal Register, NASA, and GSA
- Advanced Operations—Contracting, Legal, and IT Security
- Advanced Technical Overview—Formats, Keys, Analytics
- APIs and the Digital Government Strategy
- Learn How to Use and Create APIs
- API Standards from the White House
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (Word document, 20.93 KB, 2 pages, November 2012)
- Department of Labor—Software Development Kits (SDKs)
- Federal Register**** (PDF, 218 KB, 3 pages, November 2012)
- General Services Administration—Social Media Registry
- National Broadband Map (PDF, 4.6 MB, 56 pages, September 2012)
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory
How to Make APIs—An Overview
There are several different ways to generate APIs that range in complexity and functionality. This primer provides a general overview of the different methods.
API Release Kit
Best practices around API production have agreed on a number of common elements which strongly benefit an API and warrant inclusion in the release whenever possible. The API release kit provides an outline of these components along with options for each functionality.
Government agencies are increasingly being called upon to provide a central hub by which developers can discover what APIs the agency offers and to find more information on each. The critical elements of these hubs are an agency-wide catalog of APIs, Terms of Service, and means of public engagement. However, by including further common elements, you can provide a more robust and successful developer user experience. The /developer kit provides an outline of these components.
Producing APIs through Data.gov
One method by which agencies can offer Public APIs is by leveraging the power of interactive datasets on Data.gov. This guide provides a process, template, and example agencies can follow to accomplish this.
U.S. Government APIs Listserv
This public listserv serves as a forum for questions, ideas, news, and collaboration around government API production and is available to anyone who works or wants to learn more about APIs.
- What is an API?—AIDS.gov
- Introduction to Mashups—AIDS.gov
- APIs 101 —APIEvangelist
- Common Building Blocks—APIEvangelist
- Making Information More Accessible—HHS
- Digital Government Strategy—OMB
- How Hard Is It To Make An API?—Quora
- Web Service—Wikipedia
Managing APIs and Promoting Developer Adoption
- The Secret To Amazon’s Success: Internal Services—APIEvangelist
- 7 Ways To Make Your APIs More Successful—NPR
- Top 10 Worst API Practices—ProgrammableWeb
- Things API Developers Need From Your Website—Seabourne Inc
- 5 Rules for API Management—TechCrunch
The Role of APIs in Government
- Thoughts for Federal Agencies About To Deploy Web APIs—APIEvangelist
- GitHub in Government—BenBalter.com
- Publishing Government Data That Developers Will Actually Use—BenBalter.com
- GET /open/government/apis—Civic.io
- Realizing Transparency Through Federal APIs—ProgrammableWeb
- Using Mashups to Create More Efficient .Gov—ProgrammableWeb
- The Business Value of APIs—PricewaterhouseCoopers
- Government—Do You Really Need An API?—Sunlight Foundation