White House open sources its mobile site and apps
The White House has launched a new mobile site along with dedicated Android and iPhone/iPad apps. It also immediately open sourced the apps on its GitHub repository where it already houses its PHP-based Petition platform. The apps take content from RSS feeds, aggregate them and display their contents as attractive photo galleries, illustrated news items or as videos. It also includes support for switching to live coverage of events at the centre of US Government. There were previously closed apps available for iPhone users but the White House has taken the opportunity to rebuild the entire app "from the ground up" to add new features and add support for the iPad and Android phones and tablets.
The creation of the mobile apps and site is part of an initiative which aims to have all key government services available on mobile devices by spring 2013. The White House also hopes that making the code available will allow other governments and organisations to improve engagement and communication with citizens and constituencies. What they have provided is source code for two high-quality multimedia apps for the two most popular mobile platforms, which should greatly speed anyone wanting to develop a similar project. Both applications are made available under an MIT licence, specifically to protect included code as software produced by the US Government is not subject to copyright protection within the US.