Sunlight Foundation has added an API portal to make government more transparent, as well as an interactive query builder. US government turns to open source for its API management solution. Plus: is API management wagging the dog? Also, Philips combines Hue lightbulbs with API for bright idea, and 14 new APIs.
Sunlight Foundation's New Portal: Let the APIs Shine In
The Sunlight Foundation's mission is simple and clear: make government more transparent and make the data available quickly. Speed is important--often data in the legislative process are held back until after votes on legislation are cast, making it too late to react to information that shows who is influencing the creation of the law. But for those who want to dig into how legislative sausages are made, to paraphrase John Godfrey Saxe, the Sunlight Foundation has several APIs now listed together in a portal. The Sunlight Foundation shines light on more than federal legislation, however. By my count they have 5 different APIs. There's the Congress API that has contact and biographical information about Senators and House Reps. That's not to be confused with the "Real time Congress" API, which focuses on floor updates, hearing schedules, whip notices, key documents and votes. The Capitol words API organizes speeches given by members of Congress. The Open States API does what the first API does on the state level: give name and contact information on state legislators. Finally there is the Influence Explorer API that shows you the money. You can actually try these out to see how they work. As an example, the Congress API trial prompts you to enter your contact data and will return your senator's contact info based on where you live. It's not all dry data manipulation. According to Sunlight, someone used the Capitol Words API to go through speeches given by Congresspeople over several years, showing that the grade level the legislators are speaking at is...wait for it... declining.
US Government Deploys Umbrella, an Open Source API Management Solution
Friday we published an interview with Promod Haque of Norwest Venture Partners about its repeated investments in Apigee. He argued the case for why the investment was a sound one. We pressed him, wondering if the potential advent of open source API management might be a threat. Just one day later we learn of the US government's decision to deploy an open source solution to managing their APIs for federal agencies. Powered by the open source API umbrella, api.data.gov provides a lot of the usual features one would expect, from analytics to API keys. The goal is to make it easy for federal agencies to release and manage APIs. They promise other features as soon as this month, including "Self service web admin for managing APIs"--there's that ubiquitous term in API management, "self service," again!--improved documentation management, granular admin permissions, and more. Services covered are the Census, the Federal Communications Commission, MyUSA (a service to discover related government content), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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