Title: Web Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): general-purpose standards, terms and European Commission initiatives
Authors: SANTORO MATTIAVACCARI LORENZINOMAVRIDIS DIMITRIOSSMITH ROBINPOSADA SANCHEZ MONICAGATTWINKEL DIETMAR
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2019
JRC N°: JRC118082
ISBN: 978-92-76-13183-0 (online)
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 29984 EN
OP KJ-NA-29984-EN-N (online)
URI: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC118082
DOI: 10.2760/675
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: From their inception, digital technologies have had a huge impact on our everyday life. In both the private and the public sectors, they have contributed to, or at times driven, change in organisational structures, ways of working, and how products and services are shaped and shared. Governments and public administration units, driven by the digital evolution of information and communications technology (ICT), are evolving from traditional workflow-based public service provisions to digital equivalents (e-government), with more innovative forms of government and administration looking for the engagement of citizens and the private sector to co-create final services through user-centric approaches. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which are one of the most relevant ICT solutions, have contributed to this notable shift in the adoption of technology, especially when used over the web. They have affected the global economy of the private sector and are contributing to the digital transformation of governments. To explore this in more detail, the European Commission recently started the APIs4DGov study. One of the outputs of the study is an analysis of the API technological landscape, including its related standards and technical specifications for general purpose use. The goal of the analysis presented in this brief report is to support the definition of stable APIs for digital government services adopted by governments or single public administration units. Such adoption would avoid the need to develop ad hoc solutions that could have limited scalability or potential for reuse. Instead, the work suggests that we should consider a number of existing standards provided by standardisation bodies or, at least, technical specifications written by well-recognised consortia, vendors or users. The aim of this report is also to support API stakeholders in the identification and selection of such solutions. To do this, it first gives a series of definitions to help the reader understand some basic concepts, as well as related standards and technical specifications. Then, it presents the description and classification (by resource representation, security, usability, test, performance and licence) of the standards and technical specifications collected. A shortlist of these documents (based on their utilisation, maintenance and stability) is also proposed, together with a brief description of each of them. Finally, the report provides a useful glossary with definitions of the relevant terms we have collected so far within the APIs4DGov study.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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