Update: as part of our migration work to make our frontend architecture simpler, we will be removing the business support API.
From Monday 20 March 2017 the API will show a warning and the content it returns will no longer be updated. From Tuesday 18 April 2017, the API will stop returning content and will only display a warning. The API will be completely removed on Tuesday 2 May 2017.
The warning message will give more details of how to continue getting content about business finance support.
We’ll link to more details on the removal of this API once we’ve published them.
Business finance support: opening up GOV.UK data
We’ve just made it possible for others to re-use GOV.UK data on grants, loans and other support available to businesses.
This blog post tells you more about this project, and how you can use the data.
Helping others to re-use business finance support data
GOV.UK has an in-depth database of information about grants, loans and other financial assistance available to businesses in the UK, which users can browse based on things like their location, size, and type of industry.
We’ve had a number of requests to make this data available in an easily consumable format for other people and organisations to re-use, in their own way and tailored to the needs of their own audiences.
We’ve recently achieved this by adding something called an API to the tool - an API specifies how various pieces of software interact, and a common use-case for APIs on the web is to present data in a common format.
At present the new API is a beta release, which means it is a fully working prototype, available to our users. However, it may be liable to change and should not be considered a fully supported public release.
How to use the business support API
The new API allows anyone to search the underlying business support data based on relevant criteria.
This direct access to the data can be used to power applications without the need to replicate the data itself, the API acting as the authoritative data store for this type of business related financial support.
You can find the business support API data here.
It is organised into pages of results which can be refined by using specific criteria in the search query e.g. by business size, location, sector, stage or support type and any combination of these terms. So we’ve provided a searchable taxonomy for the data we’ve exposed.
A few improvements behind the scenes too
We’ve also had the opportunity to redress some technical debt accumulated in the run-up to the GOV.UK launch in October 2012.
The searchable, categorised data living in one system and the detailed editorial content in another. This created a convoluted workflow for our editors when updating records from both systems, and equally caused some headaches for developers.
We needed a way to merge the two systems with little or no impact to our business finance finder application, the API provided this protection while we made architectural changes to our editorial tools.
What comes next
Presenting this data via an API benefits our users, and it paves the way for external companies, agencies and individuals to build applications off the back of the API data.
The architecture of the GOV.UK platform also benefits from this pattern of greater resilience to future changes.
We’d love to hear about how people are re-using our data, and other ideas for improving the service we offer - just comment on this blogpost.
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