Introducing Better APIs for Business

New Zealand’s business community creates great apps, websites and software. Many of these are based on APIs. Few of those APIs, however, come from government.

That’s where we come in. We – the Better APIs for Business team – are working on providing more government APIs.  We want to support the business community in working government services into their products. Our team is part of the Better for Business Result 9 programme, a collaborative effort by 8 government agencies to reduce the effort of interacting with government.

We know that there’s a lot of interest in the opportunities government APIs offer and we know that there aren’t many out there - especially transactional APIs. Transactional APIs are much more difficult to build than their ‘read only’ open data counterparts, which is part of the challenge.

To help support better APIs to business, we’ll be:

  • providing information about our work and APIs in general
  • developing tools and resources around government APIs
  • taking a collaborative approach to make sure that what gets built by government agencies is useful and used.

One of the major things we’re working on is a way to better match API supply and demand. This means that interested people could get together, see what’s already available and discuss which APIs to develop or enhance.

But how would this work?

An API marketplace

We’re thinking deeply about a central API marketplace to connect suppliers and customers of government APIs. The concept came out of workshops last year. It was reinforced when people told us during user testing what they need from our site.

To get the ball rolling, we’ve set up an API advisory group made up of agency representatives and tech industry members. We want your thoughts on this marketplace concept too.

To start with, here are a couple of questions we’re keen to get your thoughts on:

  1. What would you need to know about a transactional service or dataset to be able to tell if it’s of interest to you? This could be both from a technical or business opportunity perspective.
  1. In the absence of actual APIs, should we start by listing the type of services agencies currently deliver? This could give an indication of the types of services and data that agencies hold that could be useful for future API development.

What can you do?

If you have an interest in government APIs and ideas on how we can support the development of more of them, we'd love to hear from you.

If you want to track our progress, we’ll be posting on our site and our Github page.

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