The API Briefing: Free Federal Energy and Economic Information Delivered Straight to Your Spreadsheet

Mar 25, 2015 |

Back in November 2014, I wrote about the Federal Reserve of St. Louis’ FRED® (Federal Reserve Economic Data) API. A user can access 238,000 economic trends through FRED® through a website and mobile apps. What is unique about FRED® is that a user can pull economic data directly into an Excel spreadsheet. Now, the FRED® Read »

The API Briefing: Introduction to Web Components

Mar 18, 2015 |

Instead of writing about a specific federal API this week, I want to talk about a new, evolving way of building Web interfaces and complete applications. Web Components allow developers to create their element that extends the HTML5 set of tags. Developers can create a Web Component Read »

Why Your APIs Need Design Help

Mar 16, 2015 |

Anything built should be built right. It doesn’t matter if it’s built of wood, carbon nanotubes or code. So it’s encouraging that the practice of User-Centered Design—getting customer feedback at every stage of a project—is catching on with Read »

The API Briefing: Fulfilling the D(e)SIRE for Renewable Energy with the Department of Energy’s New API

Mar 11, 2015 |

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency® (DSIRE®) provides information on incentives and policies for renewables and energy efficiency in the U.S. This joint project by the Department of Energy and North Carolina State University just released an API to query DSIRE®’s database. Developers can view the sample Read »

The API Briefing: Practicing Safe App Development with Secure Federal APIs

Mar 4, 2015 |

When browsing the various APIs offered by the federal government, you may have noticed that developers need to sign up for an API key. You may have also noticed that the documentation tells app developers to access the API using specified methods. Along with these two requirements, federal API creators Read »

The API Briefing: Harvesting the USDA’s Rich Bounty of Open Data Sets for APIs

Feb 25, 2015 |

APIs and apps have been created for almost every aspect of human life. There are alarm clock apps, fitness apps, cooking apps, and personal finance apps, just to name a few of the thousands of apps available today. Most areas of society are well-represented in the app world except for one large portion of the Read »

The API Briefing: Building Apps with APIs Using If This Then That

Feb 18, 2015 |

In my last posting, I argued that federal agencies should consider microservices architecture when releasing APIs. This is because allowing users to combine single-purpose apps together in unique ways helps people build personalized apps such as a driving map to local farmers markets. When given the opportunity, users will surprise you with the innovative creations Read »

The API Briefing: Two API Trends to Watch in 2015 – Microservices and Containers

Feb 11, 2015 |

DigitalGov recently spotlighted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new SaferRide app. SaferRide provides safe alternatives to keep drunken drivers off the road. SaferRide uses the Yelp API to provide information about local taxi services Read »

The API Briefing: NASA and USPS Explore the Holographic Computing Frontier

Jan 28, 2015 |

Big news in the technology world as Microsoft unveiled HoloLens and Microsoft’s use of holographic computing in the upcoming Windows 10 release. Holographic computing or augmented reality uses computer-generated images that are overlaid on real world videos. For example, a user can view a car through their smartphone. An app can project information such as Read »

The API Briefing: Bureau of Labor Statistics Invites Developers to Build Employment Apps

Jan 21, 2015 |

The federal government collects an amazing amount of economic data. Several agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury, and the Census Bureau collect economic data, ranging from the stock market activity to local business conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects information on the labor market and is a rich source Read »

The API Briefing: Two Great Housing APIs and Why HUD Needs to Build More

Jan 14, 2015 |

Recently, a reader pointed out that some of the APIs I write about are not really APIs but just datasets. Technically that is true but it only takes some development effort to turn a into an API. That is why I also highlight interesting federal datasets along with federal APIs. Read »

The API Briefing: Make 2015 the Year You Create an App

Jan 7, 2015 |

According to some experts, over 80% of Americans will make a least one New Year’s resolution. There are the usual “lose weight,” “quit smoking,” or “exercise more” resolutions. Another popular set of resolutions involves learning new skills. So, if you are looking for a way to improve yourself while helping others, think about making a Read »

The API Briefing: Department of Justice Frees the Content with Two New APIs

Dec 17, 2014 |

When websites were first created back in the 1990s, developers perfected their skills designing sites that presented content in an attractive and eye-catching manner. Content was completely contained within the four corners of the site. With the rise of Web 2.0, content Read »

The API Briefing: Save on Holiday Travels with FuelEconomy.gov Web Services

Dec 10, 2014 |

We are in the middle of the holidays, and that means much driving to visit friends and relatives. I was just in Kentucky this past weekend where I spent a total of eight hours driving. I am sure many of you will spend even more time driving in the next three weeks. So, where do Read »

The API Briefing: Test Your JSON Reading Skills with the Peace Corps Countries and Regions API

Dec 3, 2014 |

The Peace Corps just released a new dataset that lists all of the countries and regions Peace Corps volunteers serve. The API is RESTful and uses the JSON format. You have read in earlier columns about the different data formats for APIs and how to read the data presented by an API. As a refresher, Read »