IT services

18F unveils first pilot app


The General Services Administration's new digital incubator has launched its first pilot application, which seeks to make it easier for small businesses to search the vast content of the government's Federal Business Opportunities site.

In a post on the software developer website GitHub, Presidential Innovation Fellow Aaron Snow said FBOpen is a joint project of the PIF program, GSA's Integrated Award Environment and the agency's new 18F program, which is home to a team of tech experts and developers who will build Web services for agencies, prototypes for projects and tools that can be reused across government.

Snow also described FBOpen's development process and noted that 18F is designed to foster collaboration and speedy processes.

Snow and Presidential Innovation Fellow Robert Read worked on the RFP-EZ Marketplace last year, which allows first-time government contractors to bid more quickly on a variety of tech contracts -- including video transcription, Web design and Web application development -- without initially contending with government purchasing schedules or registration processes.

The FBOpen package includes an open-API server, data import tools and sample apps. Snow said a simple API also allows users to build their own query tools.

"Then someone realized we didn't have to limit this server to FBO data," he said. "There's a second sample data loader that can be used to load data nightly from, and the API allows you to post opportunities, too."

The agency's 18F digital technology incubator, announced March 19, taps Presidential Innovation Fellows and GSA's own digital delivery team to build public-facing websites for agencies or consult with them on what to build or buy.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 Charles

Actually, you can watch the work they are doing, and even contribute, at

Fri, Mar 28, 2014 doubting18F not18F

i am strongly worried 18F will only focus on the shiny, not the substantive work. this will distract from th e real work that needs to be done. they're doing it in secret too, which seems odd, and not involving the inputs of the public nor folks in public service. seems confusing.

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