The State Decoded Platform Now Features Brand New, Public API

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
Feb. 13 2013, 08:00AM EST

The State Decoded has just announced the release of platform version 0.6 which includes a brand new, full featured, public web API. The State Decoded is a platform that displays state codes, court decisions, and information from legislative tracking services in a format that makes it easier to read and better understood by humans.

Virginia Decoded

The State Decoded platform features embedded definitions of legal terms, beautiful typography and a well developed web API. The newly released version 0.6 of The State Decoded platform is available on GitHub.

The brand new State Decoded API is RESTful, JSON-based and currently provides three methods of API calls: Law, Structure, and Dictionary. Due to the difficulty of parsing data from many different legal sources (every legal code is different), an XML standard was established to import legal codes into the platform. As stated in the announcement, the XML standard is not meant to standardize legal codes:

"To be clear, this is not an attempt to create an XML standard for legal codes. This is a loosely typed standard, used solely as an import format for The State Decoded. Many legal codes are already stored as XML -- that's the most common file format -- so getting those codes into The State Decoded now only requires writing a bit of XSLT. This is a much lower barrier to entry."

The states of Florida and Virginia have implemented the State Decoded platform and both states have launched their websites. States in the planning or preliminary stages include Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington. Additional states are also considering implementing the platform and the complete list of states can be found on the State Decoded website.

The availability of a public API makes it much easier for developers to try out and test the State Decoded platform. For more information, please visit the official website.

Janet Wagner Janet is a data journalist and full stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, open data, data visualization and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @webcodepro and on Google+

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