Posted on 08-14-2014
I got a gentle ping today, as I often do when there is a new developer hub or API launched in the federal government. This time it was located within the Department of Commerce, for the International Trade Administration, and was a new developer area, with five APIs at Developer.Trade.Gov.
I quickly went through the new developer area, which I consider passing the test for a minimum viable developer area, possessing all the essential building blocks an API developer hub needs. The only places I feel it fell short is in the feedback loop, and providing machine readable definitions for each of the five APIs.
I submitted my feedback as Github issues, on the repository for the developer hub, but when it comes to machine readable definitions for each of the five APIs, I know how easy this is, so rather than just submit issues, I figured I'd get to work generating the machine readable API definitions for Developer.Trade.Gov, and demonstrate what was possible. As I do with all of my work, I setup a subdomain, and Github repository, to store all of my work, and got to work on each of the five APIs:
- Market Research Library (Swagger)
- ITA Offices & Centers (Swagger)
- Trade Events
- Trade Leads
- Trade News & Articles
I chose to use Swagger for creating my machine readable API definitions, and while I was waiting for the Github commit to take for the Market Research Library API Swagger definition + Swagger UI, I got to work on the ITA Offices & Centers API. As I was finishing up, I reloaded the interactive docs for the Market Research Library API, and got the dreaded CORS warning:
Cross-Origin Request Blocked: The Same Origin Policy disallows reading the remote resource at http://api.trade.gov/market_research_library/search?keyword=travel. This can be fixed by moving the resource to the same domain or enabling CORS.
That is where the fun ends for me. I can keep creating Swagger specs for the other three APIs, but I won’t be able to play with them until I create a proxy to make calls through, and open up CORS on my end. I will make time to do this over the weekend, but until then the fun stops. I am hoping they will also open up CORS, but I'm sure it will take a while.
To wrap up my work, I also generated an APIs.json file for the Developer.Trade.Gov domain, listing the details for both the Market Research Library API, and the ITA Offices & Centers API--opening up the APIs to discovery by API search engines like APIs.io. When Developer.Trade.Gov publishes the APIs.json + Swagger specs under their domain, it will become more authoratative and given prominence in search engine results.
In about 2 hours, I was able to review a new developer area, and five APIs, generate two swagger specs, 1 APIs.json, publish to a Github repository where I launched interactive documentation for each of the two APIs, and wrap up with this story of my work. As with all of my work, you can find all of this work at the Github repository, and the best part is, when I pick the work back up, it is all in one location, with complete notes about what I did—helping me understand where I left off, in addition to allowing anyone else to step in and learn from the process.
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