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Agencies opening mobile code to app developers

Jan. 15, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

Agencies are making progress opening their mobile code to app developers and contractors, according to agency officials and contractors.

Frank Benenati, spokesman at the Office of Management and Budget, said agencies are responding to the digital government strategy set forth by the White House to open their data and code to enable the private sector to build off agency platforms.

The administration also has established a Digital Services Innovation Center to share best practices and provide training on a variety of subjects, including mobile development to help agencies better plan and develop mobile apps and interfaces, according to Benanati.

On May 9, President Obama signed an executive order to make data more open and easily transferred from one platform to another to make mobile app development easier for developers and private citizens.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Carla Daniels said the department has developed more than 1,000 data sets and APIs open to the public, as well as tools to allow developers to pull HHS content into other mobile applications.

Greg Eoyang, the CEO of mobile application developer daVinci, a subsidiary of Intelligent Decisions, said agencies have made great progress on creating an open source ecosystem, but they need to do more to increase incentives for developers.

“The best talent is going to go where they get the best rewards, and the government will need to offer an incentive, or the ecosystem will lack developers and quality apps,” Eoyang said.

Joe Herres, executive vice president and co-founder of H3 Solutions, said agencies are beginning to open up their code and give developers tools to develop apps based on agency data such as financial, census or traffic information.

“This is giving developers a data repository that allows them to build better apps, ultimately extending and building out agencies’ services to citizens,” Herres said. ■

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