Free Your Data, and UIs are Free

This video describes how the Massachusetts Department of Transportation began publishing real-time bus arrival data and within two months there were six compelling applications available that harnessed that data.

Joshua Robins of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation

This shows that if you make your data available, there are legions of developers willing to build applications on various platforms. Massachusetts could have spent months building a lame Web site and then making the data available. By making the data available first, they didn’t need any UI at all.

It’s easy to see how this can work with public data. I believe this same principle works inside the enterprise. If we build our line of business applications to publish their data in open formats, anyone can build the applications that display that data to users in whatever formats users need.

HT: Jack van Hoof