Over the past few years, we’ve taken unprecedented action to help Americans engage with their Government in new and meaningful ways.
Using Vote.gov, citizens can now quickly navigate their state’s voter registration process through an easy-to-use site. Veterans can go to Vets.gov to discover, apply for, track and manage their benefits in one, user-friendly place. And for the first time ever, citizens can send a note to President Obama simply by messaging the White House on Facebook.
By harnessing 21st Century technology and innovation, we’re improving the Federal Government’s ability to provide better citizen-centered services and are making the Federal Government smarter, savvier, and more effective for the American people. At the same time, we’re building many of these new digital tools, such as We the People, the White House Facebook bot, and Data.gov, in the open so that as the Government uses technology to re-imagine and improve the way people interact with it, others can too.
The code for these platforms is, after all, the People’s Code – and today we’re excited to announce that it’ll be accessible from one place, Code.gov, for the American people to explore, improve, and innovate.
The launch of Code.gov comes on the heels of the release of the Federal Source Code Policy, which seeks to further improve access to the Federal Government’s custom-developed software. It’s a step we took to help Federal agencies avoid duplicative custom software purchases and promote innovation and cross-agency collaboration. And it’s a step we took to enable the brightest minds inside and outside of government to work together to ensure that Federal code is reliable and effective.
Built in the open, the newly-launched Code.gov already boasts access to nearly 50 open source projects from over 10 agencies – and we expect this number to grow over the coming months as agencies work to implement the Federal Source Code Policy. Further, Code.gov will provide useful tools and best practices to help agencies implement the new policy. For example, starting today agencies can begin populating their enterprise code inventories using the metadata schema on Code.gov, discover various methods on how to build successful open source projects, and much more.
We’re excited about today’s launch, and envision Code.gov becoming yet another creative platform that gives citizens the ability to participate in making government services more effective, accessible, and transparent. We also envision it becoming a useful resource for State and local governments and developers looking to tap into the Government’s code to build similar services, foster new connections with their users, and help us continue to realize the President’s vision for a 21st Century digital government.
And most importantly, this is just the beginning. We have a lot more planned for Code.gov. We encourage you to check it out, send us your ideas for improving it and help us continue to unlock the tremendous potential of the Federal Government’s software.
Tony Scott is the U.S. Chief Information Officer.