FCC launches website to create personalized dashboards

Making federal data sets available online is a great first step, but how about providing tools so that users can quickly visualize selected data in a personalized online dashboard?

That is what the Federal Communications Commission aims to do with its new MyFCC platform that launched in beta format on Dec. 20. The new platform uses an Application Programming Interface (API) architecture promoted by its former managing director, Steven VanRoekel, who is now the federal chief information officer.

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Users of MyFCC can create and manage a customized page, choosing from a menu of FCC widgets, tools and services.

For example, the page could have a box for the FCC’s latest official documents, latest press releases and official forms and filings.

“With its various customization options, MyFCC not only lets you set up a personalized page, but also allows any individual or group to easily share content where it’s needed -- either on My.FCC.gov or on other websites,” David Robbins, FCC managing director, wrote on the FCC blog. “Each individual widget can be embedded on any other website and you can also create full dashboards of widgets to share with friends and colleagues.

MyFCC is driven by an open-source API, which makes the contents of the website available to developers and other interested parties.

Robbins’ predecessor at the FCC, VanRoekel, strongly promoted the idea that all websites should have API content. VanRoekel left the FCC in June and two months later succeeded Vivek Kundra.

Mike Reich, president of Seabourne consulting, wrote on his blog on Dec. 22 that his company helped to create MyFCC. He said the new platform was relatively inexpensive to create because it leverages the open-source content available at the main Web portal FCC.gov

“Because we were able to leverage the FCC.gov content through the API, the time and cost to develop MyFCC were radically lower than alternative approaches. This is a great example of how a Web API Platform architecture can help reduce development cost while supporting cutting-edge applications,” Reich wrote.

Bloggers also are praising the commission for creating an innovative platform that can be used to arrange and display data, and to combine the FCC data with other data sets.

“MyFCC is a great example of how APIs can enable telecom professionals, legal practitioners, federal officials and consumers to share, remix and mash up the massive amounts of government data, to help make sense of it, while also sharing their findings help influence how our government and democracy operates,” Kin Lane wrote on the Programmable Web blog on Dec. 21.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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