Public Administration API Principles

Principles in brief

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are documented interfaces that facilitate the exchange of data or functionalities between software, applications or systems.

The purpose of the principles is to promote the provision and use of public-sector information and functionalities, primarily through APIs. As new solutions can be developed on top of existing information, functionalities and APIs, this reduces overlapping work and solutions, speeds up development and improves productivity.

The goal of the principles is to increase customer orientation, cooperation, semantic and technical interoperability, reusability, attention to information security and data protection, and quality in API development. The principles are supported through networking (in Finnish).

The public administration API principles are available in Finnish, Swedish and English. The principles have been developed in the Ministry of Finance's Information Utilization and Opening project.

Twelve API-principles

Strategic principles to the organisation’s management

 Strategic principles
1.1Provide and use information primarily through APIs
1.2Define goals and indicators for the provision and use of APIs and acquire sufficient resources
1.3Ensure interoperability with other systems when making purchases
1.4Promote internal and external cooperation

Tactical principles to the developers of information management in the organisation

 Tactical principles
2.1Develop APIs in a needs-oriented manner
2.2Define the roles, tasks, responsibilities and operating models related to the provision and use of APIs
2.3Describe the system of APIs
2.4Identify and manage risks related to APIs

Operative principles to those who develop and maintain APIs

 Operative principles
3.1Develop APIs with open and technology-independent standards and protocols
3.2Describe the information processed by the APIs according to shared, widely-used information models
3.3Secure, test, version, document and publish the APIs
3.4Follow the indicators set for the API and other monitoring targets