It's no secret that APIs are at the center of many open data initiatives. Governments are well positioned to take advantage of APIs to provide access to troves of data that often belong to the public domain. The last few years have seen initiatives such as the White House developing API standards, the UK’s Revenue and Customs Agency, HMRC releasing a detailed API strategy, and the U.S. General Services Administration relasing a government wide digital registry API. Now Yves de Montcheuil points out how France looks to be getting in on the act.
The French government has recently released API.gouv.fr, an API portal currently housing 15 APIs. They are available not only to government agencies but also to businesses and they allow for the embedding of government services. The goal of this release is to make the government a platform upon which composite digital services can be built and offered to the public.
France's State CIO Henri Verdier offers as an example, the simplified ability for citizens to apply for parking permits that give them a discount on meter rates. The 'API Particulier' works to limit the number of requests for supporting documents or information when it is held by other government agencies. This API, combined with France Connect, a digital identity platform, allows users to apply for the parking permit online without having to gather and provide physical tax documentation.
As stories such as this and others like the Dutch Environment Act continue to spread and hopefully succeed, the momentum should continue to move governments in the direction of providing better and easier services to the public.