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UK promotes APIs to ‘improve services, reduce cost’


The UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) has published cross-governmental API data and standards to help public services share and reuse technology, and to make better use of data. “API standards help us provide better digital public services and reduce our cost of doing so,” GDS said in a statement.

APIs (Application programming interface) define the communication between software components. This helps software developers build solutions that leverage other IT services and data.

This week, GDS published the API technical and data standards. “These standards will help us as central government and local authorities build, authenticate, iterate and document APIs in a consistent way,” GDS said.

The guidelines prescribe, for example, the use of HTTPS to secure connections, Unicode to encode written text, and JSON to mark up data and objects in browser-server communication. Other requirements deal with authorisation, permissions, and monitoring of system security. GDS also urges public services to document APIs, and to provide sample code.

The standards were developed in collaboration with technical architects from inside and outside the UK government.

More information:

API technical and data standards
GDS announcement of API data and technical standards

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