DTO to make creating APIs mandatory for federal agencies


Abstract technological background. Vector illustration

The benefits of ubiquitous APIs for new government services could be profound for the burgeoning start-up culture in Australia. But there are considerable challenges if the Digital Transformation Office can pull off that mandate, writes government technology consultant Craig Thomler.

Last week the Digital Transition Office released a draft of its API Design Guide for public review.

An API, or Application Programming Interface, is an approach that defines consistent methods of inputting and outputting data into a software system based on internet protocols. APIs are regularly used by Web 2.0 services as a standard way to connect to each other, share information and support seamless integrated functions (such as connecting your mailing list service with your survey tool).

The government already has a few APIs, generally around the edge of its services and functions — such as for the National Library’s Trove service and the Pharmaceuticals Benefit Scheme.

However what is suggested in the DTO’s post is that the DTO is looking to make it mandatory for government agencies to create APIs for all new services, and to consume their own APIs when delivering those services.

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