The next application that is web-based interface (API) standards guidance will help your organisation provide the best possible services to users.
API technical and data standards (v2 — 2019)
Publish your APIs on the internet by default. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you think your APIs ought not to be published over public infrastructure.
Stick to the Technology Code of Practice
Make fully sure your APIs fulfill the requirements associated with Technology Code of Practice (TCoP) by making sure they:
follow the Open Standards Principles of open access, consensus-based open process and licensing that is royalty-free
scale so they can maintain service level objectives and agreements when demand increases
Are stable so they can maintain service level objectives and agreements when dealing or changed with unexpected events
Are reusable where possible so the national government will not duplicate work
Follow the industry standard and where build that is appropriate that are RESTful, designed to use HTTP verb requests to control data.
When requests that are handling you should utilize HTTP verbs for their specified purpose.
One of many benefits of REST is you a framework for communicating error states that it gives.
In a few cases, it may not be applicable to construct an escape API, as an example, if you’re building an API to stream data.
You need to use HTTPS when designing APIs.
Adding HTTPS will secure connections to your API, preserve user privacy, ensure data integrity, and authenticate the server providing the API. The Service Manual provides more guidance on HTTPS.
Secure APIs using Transport Layer Security (TLS) v1.2. Usually do not use Sockets that is secure LayerSSL) or TLS v1.0.
You can find multiple free and low-cost vendors that offer TLS certificates. rather Make sure API that is potential can establish trust in your certificates. Be sure you have a process that is robust timely certificate renewal and revocation.
Your API may warrant linking your data together. You can make your API more programmatically accessible by returning URIs, and also by using existing standards and specifications.
Use Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) to recognize certain data:
As soon as your API returns data in reaction to an call that is HTTP you should use URIs when you look at the payload to identify certain data. Where appropriate, you should utilize specifications which use hypermedia, including CURIES, JSON-LD or HAL.
This will make it better to find those resources. For example, you could return a “person” object which links to a resource representing their company into the way that is following
Your choice that is first for web APIs should be JSON where possible.
Only use another representation to build something in exceptional cases, like when you:
need certainly to hook up to a legacy system, for example, one that only uses XML
will receive clear advantages from complying with a broadly adopted standard (for instance, SAML)
We recommend you need to:
create responses as a JSON object and not an array (JSON objects can contain JSON arrays) — arrays can limit the capability to include metadata about results and limit the API’s capability to add additional top-level keys as time goes by
document your JSON object to make sure it really is well described, and thus that it’s not treated as a array that is sequential
avoid unpredictable object keys such as those produced by data as this adds friction for clients
use consistent grammar case for object keys — choose under_score or CamelCase and start to become consistent
The government mandates utilizing the ISO 8601 standard to represent time and date in your payload response. This helps people read the right time correctly.
Use a consistent date format. For dates, this looks like 2017-08-09 . For dates and times, use the form 58:07Z that is 2017-08-09T13 .
The European Union mandates utilising the ETRS89 standard for the geographical scope of Europe. You may also use WGS 84 or any other CRS coordinate systems for European location data in addition to this.
Use the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) standard for the rest of the world. You can use other CRS coordinate systems for all of those other world in addition to this.
You need to use GeoJSON for the exchange of location information.
The Unicode Transformation Format (UTF-8) standard is mandatory for usage in government when encoding text or other textual representations of information.
Configure APIs to react to ‘requests’ for data rather than ‘sending’ or ‘pushing’ data. This makes sure the API user only receives the information they might need.
When responding, your API must answer the request fully and specifically. For instance, an API should respond to the request “is this user married?” with a boolean. The solution should not return any more detail than is required and may rely on the client application to correctly interpret it.
When designing your data fields, you should think about the way the fields will meet user needs. Having a technical writer in your team will allow you to try this. You may also regularly examine your documentation.
For instance, you may need to consider whether if you need to collect personal information as part of your dataset, before deciding on your payload response:
the design can cope with names from cultures which don’t have first and names that are last
the abbreviation DOB makes sense or whether or not it’s simpler to spell the field out to date of birth
DOB is practical when combined with DOD (date of death) or DOJ (date of joining)
It’s also wise to make certain you provide all of the relevant options. As an example, the “marriage” field will probably have significantly more than 2 states you want to record: married , unmarried , divorced , widowed , estranged , annulled and so on.
Dependent on that which you decide, you may choose the payload that is following a response:
When providing an Open Data API, you really need to let users datasets that are download whole they contain restricted information. Thus giving users:
the ability to analyse the dataset locally
support when performing a job requiring access to the complete dataset (as an example, plotting a graph on school catchment areas in England)
Users must be able to index their local copy of data employing their selection of database technology and then perform a query to meet their demands. This means that future API downtime won’t affect them they need because they already have all the data.
Using a record-by-record data API query to perform the action that is same be suboptimal, both for an individual and also for the API. It is because:
rate limits would slow down access, or might even stop the dataset that is whole downloading entirely
in the event that dataset has been updated during the same time with the record-by-record download, users could get inconsistent records
In the event that you allow a user to download an entire dataset, you should think about providing an easy method for them to keep writing to date. For instance you might live stream your computer data or notify them that new information is available to ensure API consumers know to download you API data periodically.
Don’t encourage users to help keep datasets that are large to date by re-downloading them as this approach is wasteful and impractical. Instead, let users download incremental lists of changes to a dataset. This allows them to help keep their very own copy that is local to date and saves them needing to re-download your whole dataset repeatedly.
There is certainlyn’t a recommended standard with this pattern, so users can try approaches that are different as:
encoding data in Atom/RSS feeds
using emergent patterns, such as for example event streams utilized by products such as Apache Kafka
making usage of open data registers
Make data for sale in CSV formats in addition to JSON when you want to write bulk data. This makes sure users may use a wide range of tools, including software that is off-the-shelf to import and analyse this data.
Publish bulk data on data.gov.uk while making sure there was a link that is prominent it.
When your API serves personal or data that are sensitive you have to log when the data is provided and to whom. This will help you satisfy your desires under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), respond to data subject access requests, and detect fraud or misuse.
Use open access (no control) you do not need to identify your users, for example when providing open data if you want to give unfettered access to your API and . However, do keep in mind the possibility of denial-of-service attacks.
Open access does not always mean you might be unable to throttle your API.
Think about the option of publishing data that are open data.gov.uk in the place of via an API essey about me.When using open data do not use authentication so you can maximise the usage your API.
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