Reforming Government Websites with App Developers in Mind

Joseph Marks | NextGov | November 14, 2011

Among the most important developments in the relaunched website is its use of open source application programming interfaces, the Federal Communications Commission's new media specialist Gray Brooks said recently.

APIs are essentially buckets of information that can be easily accessed and read by other computers. A large portion of the new is actually stored in cloud-based APIs rather than on the site itself, which makes it easier to update site content. More important, website and mobile application developers can draw updated information automatically from FCC APIs without spending time manually transferring information from one place to another, Brooks said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has used similar APIs at, enabling developers to rely on rapidly updated weather information, Brooks said. "Basically, we're letting them build something that can be automatically maintained going forward," he said. "No one wants to build an app that is probably going to be wrong tomorrow. What they want to build is something that's able to dynamically stay up to date."...