When twitter was born, the early adopters would recall, it had no search functionality. However, when they published their API, suddenly there was a wave of new and exciting possibilities. Out of that, a new company was born. This company quickly leveraged twitter’s API, eventually got acquired by Twitter, to create what is known today as the twitter search engine.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. Wikipedia defines it as “a source code based specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other.”
The government, in its role as a service provider to the citizens, needs to be completely capable of providing high quality, effective, affordable services. However, sometimes, in conditions where the government itself is unable to do so or when the government is not the best delivery vehicle (for example, citizen access to its own information), it must involve or allow third-party involvement (profit or non-profit organisations) in producing efficient and innovative ways to deliver access to governmental services. Hence the need for a governmental API. Is that too much to ask?
At the present time in South Africa, Access to basic government information is a serious problem. And so one of the ideas I had in mind is a simple implementation of this API to create or aggregate government services. And if a mobile version could be made available, this could be a potential game changer. By allowing citizen to search to find the relevant services offered by their local, provincial or national government – the possibilities are endless.
Tell us what you think?
Wed AddiCT(s); note – Aslam Levy’s prediction for 2012 could really make a difference when it eventually happens.