Today, the Government of B.C. unveiled an idea we’re calling the BC Developers’ Exchange Framework, which is intended to stimulate the province’s tech sector and to improve services for British Columbians.
Using the BC Developers’ Exchange Framework we will explore the potential to enable commercial opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs to use public sector digital resources, including code, data and access to services through application programming interfaces or APIs . Through opening up public sector digital resources we can help drive B.C.’s thriving tech sector and enable them to design software applications that can improve services for British Columbians.
We invite developers, entrepreneurs and interested British Columbians to give us feedback on how we should move forward. This includes engaging in a dialogue, here on the DataBC blog.
We want your help to design a program that not only improves your experience as a developer but also helps us understand how working with public sector digital resources might create opportunities for you and your business to grow. The aim is to make it easier for you to work with the data and services from public sector agencies in B.C.
As part of the initiative, we have started a new website, developer.gov.bc.ca. Intended to appeal to the developer community, we’ve listed a number of public API’s. Over time, more will be added.
While the term API may be new to some, their use is commonplace; if you have used a weather, or transit app on a smartphone then you have used API’s. They connect and translate information so it can be shared between and understood by different computer systems. For example, Translinks’ API allows developers to build apps that pull specific data instantly from Translink to your smartphone. You benefit from having your choice of easy-to-use apps that give you the most up-to-date information on when your next train or bus will arrive.
We think governments have good reason to invest in APIs. They have the potential to change how services to British Columbians are designed and developed. For the same reason the public sector can use APIs internally, our APIs could also be used by outside developers. They could create apps and new services that could be used by citizens and perhaps by government itself. If developers can be given access to data and services through APIs, they might create innovations that government would not, creating benefits for everyone.
Those familiar with DataBC know we believe in the network effect; give as many people as possible access to information and they will come up with new ideas and solutions that benefit many. We are excited to be part of this initiative.
Please check out developer.gov.bc.ca. And give us your feedback in the comments below.