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Good comment on this article by longhairedboy:
In many ways, the new initiative is an attempt to correct the failings of the government’s first “open data” effort, Data.gov.
This is stupid, actually. The Data.gov effort did not fall short because of clunky data formats, but rather because funding was drastically cut.
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/da ... _by_75.php
Many others have more thoughtfully described the problems with providing government data as APIs and I'll provide links. Basically, the first step should always be providing data as downloads as easy to use text files like CSV. APIs are much harder to design and support. As a result of being underfunded in the government space they typically perform too poorly to be relied on my 3rd parties. Read more here:
http://sunlightlabs.com/blog/2012/gover ... ed-an-api/
http://www.peterkrantz.com/2012/publish ... pi-design/
http://sgillies.net/blog/1101/does-plei ... ve-an-api/
Government agencies shouldn't be spinning their wheels thinking about XML vs JSON, RESTful vs SOA. They should be concerned with providing accurate, timely, and extensive information in simple plain text formats. Once this is achieved, it _may_ make sense to start thinking about APIs for a subset of those datasets."