Wednesday API Briefing

The API Briefing: Government APIs in a Post-Apps World

Jun 24, 2015 |

Take out your smartphone and count the number of apps that you have. How many of these apps do you use daily? What about the apps you use weekly? Do you have any apps that you installed but used only once? Any apps that you have never used? What kind of apps do you have? Read »

The API Briefing: the Challenge of Government’s Dark Data

Jun 17, 2015 |

By now, you are familiar with “big data” or datasets that are so large that they cannot be analyzed by conventional analytical methods. You may have heard of “long data” which is data that has a temporal context. I work with long data when I analyze hiring patterns over time in workforce data. There is Read »

The API Briefing: Make It an API – the Census Bureau’s Census of Governments

Jun 3, 2015 |

Serendipity can be a wonderful tool for discovery. I was looking through the Census Bureau site for some business census data when I came upon the 2012 Census of Governments. According to the official description: “[t]he Census of Governments identifies the scope and nature of the nation’s state and local government sector; provides authoritative benchmark Read »

The API Briefing: NASA Builds API.NASA.gov to Launch More APIs to Developers

May 27, 2015 |

NASA has been busy since we last visited their collection of APIs back in August 2014. NASA has just launched API.NASA.gov where developers can learn to use existing NASA Read »

The API Briefing: Five Federal APIs for Building a Government Jobs Finder Mobile App

May 20, 2015 |

The spring semesters are winding down at the universities where I teach. Many students are looking for summer internships or their first job after graduation. Of course, I talk about the opportunities in government through the Pathways program, the Presidential Management Fellows, or the various agency-specific internship programs. I’ve demonstrated USAJOBS in my classes, but Read »

The API Briefing: Be Prepared with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Mobile App

May 6, 2015 |

Before coming to DC in late 2008, I lived in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is in the Ohio Valley Region, which meteorologists euphemistically call “weather-rich.” With spring came the beautiful flowers and the Kentucky Derby. Spring also brought flooding, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and windstorms. This is why I had several emergency weather radios that also doubled Read »

The API Briefing: Top Five Findings for API Developers from Pew Research Center

Apr 29, 2015 |

The Pew Research Center just released a report on how Americans view open government data. The following findings were based on a November to December 2014 survey of 3,212 adults. Two-thirds of Americans use the Internet or an app to connect with the government. According to Pew, 37% use the Internet to connect with the Read »

The API Briefing: Making a Difference One Microtask at a Time

Apr 22, 2015 |

I recently found an app that provides a great service through crowdsourcing. Be My Eyes connects visually-impaired people with volunteers. Using the smartphone’s camera, the volunteers can perform tasks such as reading an expiration date or helping someone navigate unfamiliar surroundings. This is not a federal app, but I wanted to highlight it to demonstrate how Read »

The API Briefing: How Essential Is Government Data to the American Economy?

Apr 15, 2015 |

I grew up when home computers were first being introduced to the general public. I bought my first computer, a Commodore 64, after spending a summer of mowing lawns and saving up my birthday and Christmas money. It was not until I entered college that I became an infopreneur. Infopreneurs are entrepreneurs who used computers Read »

The API Briefing: How Do I Use This API? Good Documentation Practices from Department of Labor

Apr 1, 2015 |

When I first started coding using BASIC on the Commodore 64, I rarely documented my programs. Neither did many of my fellow programmers which led to numerous hours trying to figure out just exactly how a program worked. Documentation became more vital as programs became more feature rich and complex. In the API world, there Read »

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 »

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 »