The Applications Programming Interface, that language-independent “exposure of functions to the outside world” as my CS prof once summed it up, is no longer an option for any of Uncle Sam’s many agencies. All federal shops are, per executive order of President Barack Obama, now required to support a web API.
Government Mainframes To Open Up
Among other things, the order is meant to “ensur[e] the safe and secure delivery and use of digital services to protect information and privacy; requiring agencies to establish central online resources for outside developers and to adopt new standards for making applicable Government information open and machine-readable by default; aggregating agencies’ online resource pages for developers in a centralized catalogue on www.Data.gov; and requiring agencies to use web performance analytics and customer satisfaction measurement tools on all “.gov” websites.”
The order gives pause. Every government agency? Surely the NSA is not scrambling to grant remote public access to its considerable data holdings. Still, the order is plain, and one thing is for sure: www.data.gov is going to have a hell of a year.
The Year Of The API
Beyond this, I noticed that a landmark software patent lawsuit concerning API copyrightability was just lost by Oracle, and by extension, the boardrooms of big business. I think we can declare 2012 the year of the API. And in the mainframe world, that means good news for vendors plying the space between CICS and IMS, and more generally, the space between COBOL and Java.