Unleashing Government Data Using APIs

December 10, 2012

What is an API?

Application Programming Interfaces let computer programs “talk” to one another and exchange information, so a dataset with an API can be accessed by third-party developers with innovative ideas. For instance:

These are all examples of uses of public APIs, but there are private examples, too. Most notably, Amazon.com uses private APIs between their various internal departments, which makes their operations extensible. There are also hybrid models, with certain information made public and others sequestered for internal use or with specific partners.