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Startup Offers Free Access to API Creator for Governments, Civic Hackers

InstantAPI's offer of free API hosting and tools for one year aims to support open data efforts in the public sector.

by / March 19, 2015
The homepage of Instant API, a platform that automates in minutes the creation of an application programming interface (API). Jason Shueh

Starting today, organizations in the government and civic tech space have a new tool to help spread open data: InstantAPI.

InstantAPI is a startup that offers an easy creator and hosting platform for application programming interfaces (APIs), and it's partnering with Government Technology to offer jurisdictions and Code for America's civic tech Brigades one year of free access to its API creator — which literally creates and hosts APIs in minutes. The package includes basic support and up to 2,500 API calls per day (the number of performed tasks an API facilitates).

Additionally, InstantAPI will select one lucky winner to receive a one-year promotion of up to 30 million API calls per month.

As a fundamental component for digital communication, APIs act as a bridge between software programs. For instance, Netflix and Redbox use the technology to ping a verification company to confirm transactions, while in government, open data portals use APIs to deliver data to apps.

This promotion is meant to foster use of the platform, said InstantAPI CEO Scott Ling, and, equally so, support fellow civic tech and open data efforts in government.

“For us, we’re more about mass adoption," Ling said. "The more people we can help enable, we will."

To lower the barrier to entry in API creation, InstantAPI is vying to be what blogging platform Wordpress was for blogs — a quick-click creation site that reduces technical complexities and democratizes data communications.

However, Ling said there are three technical prerequisites:

  1. Organizations have to know what an API is and does.
  2. Data must be available for use.
  3. And an organization must have the basic technical know-how to process its data with queries and other coding methods.

“Not many people are as crazy as us to be giving away as many free APIs as we plan to,” Ling said. “And if nothing else, users can test it to see what their data looks like."

To register for the one-year API promotion, government offices and Code for America brigades can sign up here.

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Jason Shueh former staff writer

Jason Shueh is a former staff writer for Government Technology magazine.

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