Since we launched We the People, our team of developers has been hard at work on the code that makes the whole thing tick. Good thing, too! More than 2 million users joined We the People in the last two months of 2012 alone and some 6 million of you have logged in to the system and left more than 10 million signatures. That's a lot of citizen engagement for one application to handle, but it's done well, and we continue to release updates to the source code on GitHub and Drupal.org
Today, though, we're starting the next stage of We the People's development. I'm pleased to announce that Petitions 1.0, the code that We the People runs on, is complete. We're now working towards Petitions 2.0.
In software development, when you go from one version number to another it means that something big is going on. We're taking a new approach to how the application works, one that starts with the assumption that it should be as open, transparent, and flexible as possible.
As a result, Petitions 2.0 is based on an application programming interface, or API, that we will release to the public in the coming months. The first set of methods, Read API, will be released in March, 2013 and will allow anyone to retrieve data on petitions, signatures, and responses. Later, we'll release a second set of methods, Write API, that will allow other websites and apps to collect and submit signatures without directly sending users to WhiteHouse.gov. With this API in place we'll be able to decouple the presentation and data layers of the application and build a new, streamlined signature process. This also means that developers who reuse our code will be able to choose which database the application relies on. Between that and our continued work on a white label theme, Petitions 2.0 will be easier for others to contribute to and reuse.
But it all starts with the API… and we'd like to give you a sneak peek.
We're inviting a small group to join us in Washington, DC on February 22, 2013 for the White House Open Data Day Hackathon. In the weeks before the event we'll give participants access to We the People's Read API methods so they can use them, ask questions, provide feedback, and build cool stuff. For the hackathon, participants will come to the White House to share their work, talk with the API developers, and submit examples to be included in a software development kit (SDK).
Want to take part? If you have the skills necessary to work with APIs and develop visualizations, tools, or other services that rely their data, we want to hear from you.
If you are selected to attend, you will be notified no later than Friday, February 8, 2013. To learn more about Open Data Day or find other ways to take part, visit OpenDataDay.org.