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White House Releases Mobile App Source Code

WhiteHouse.gov optimizes mobile apps for iPads, Android tablets, releases source code for DIY apps.

10 New Mobile Government Apps
10 New Mobile Government Apps
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The White House has launched new versions of its iPhone and Android applications and, for the first time, optimized them for iPads and Android tablets. The White House also released its app source code, making it possible for developers to customize the apps.

The revamped apps support 99% of the functionality available on Whitehouse.gov, according to a blog post by Peter Welsch, deputy director of online platform for the White House office of digital strategy. Slightly more than 15% of traffic on Whitehouse.gov now comes from mobile devices.

The apps feature a new look and have been rebuilt "from the ground up," Welsch wrote. Version features include White House news briefs, video streams of White House events, high-res photos that make use of the iPad's Retina display, and the ability to share content via Facebook and Twitter. They're available at Apple's iTunes store and the Google Play site.

The app source code is available on code-sharing site GitHub. "Now anyone, from civic hackers and local organizations to federal agencies, can freely download these apps, make changes, and use them for their own projects," said Welsch.

[ See FAA Reconsiders Airplane Mobile Device Ban. ]

The app refresh delivers on the Office of Management and Budget's Digital Government Strategy, introduced in May, and on President Obama's goal of providing government services "anytime, anywhere, and on any device," according to Welsch.

The Digital Government Strategy requires federal agencies to make at least two government services available via mobile devices within 12 months. In earlier signs of progress, the White House last month launched a Web page where the public, developers, and others can find the latest information on new mobile apps, links to a new Digital Services Innovation Center, a bring your own device (BYOD) toolkit, and other resources.

For its part, the Census Bureau in July released an API that can be used by software developers to incorporate U.S. census data in Web and mobile applications. According to the White House, the first third-party app was released just 24 hours after the Census API became available, and more than 800 developers accessed the API with three weeks of its release.

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