GDS updates Notify API

Written by Rebecca Hill on 9 January 2017 in News

The Government Digital Service has upgraded the public Application Programming Interface for GOV.UK Notify based on the results of user research carried out during its private beta.

Gov.UK mobile, image by GDS Team

Notify allows government departments to send citizens alerts straight to their phones - Photo credit: GDS

The notification service, which allows government to send text messages, emails and letters to citizens using a set of templates, sent its first messages to real users in May last year. GDS funds an allowance of email, text messages and letters for each service, which the team has previously said should cover most services’ needs.

The public API for GOV.UK Notify allows government services to use the system and get information on the progress of those notifications.

GDS has now upgraded this API, ahead of its move to public beta, with Notify technical lead Rebecca Laws saying the changes have been made to improve functionality following user research with service teams during the private beta.

Related content

GDS to cut GOV.UK frontend templates from 140 to 10
GDS to launch text notification service

The changes include more concise responses that are focused on the information service teams need, more filters to choose from when using the ‘get all notifications’ function on the API, and the ability to filter notifications by status and type.

In addition, the Notify team has updated error response formats so they are more informative and easier to understand, and now include the error name, status code and error message to help link error messages to relevant documentation.

There is also a new, optional input parameter for sending an email or text, ‘reference’, which allows teams to use their own unique identifiers for a notification or batch of notifications

Laws said that the team has also improved pagination by adding an ‘older than’ ID filter to get the next page of notifications to make sure pagination URLs are more consistent.

“Making changes to our API is not something we take lightly,” Laws wrote in a blogpost setting out the changes.

She said that all the client libraries had been updated to use version 2 of the API and were now available. Although older versions are still available, the latest client libraries will not be backwards-compatible due to the updates to the API responses.

“Upgrading to the latest version of the client libraries will take a small amount of work to make sure they integrate correctly with your service,” Laws said, adding that there was a CHANGEME file in the client library setting out the changes.

Laws said that new users should start with the latest client libraries, but that the old version would be maintained while existing client libraries are migrated.

The Notify team will also monitor the use of the old API, as well as helping service teams with their migration, to “ensure a smooth transition”.

At its launch in July 2016, GDS said that more than 70 service teams across central government were interested in using Notify, with the private beta involving HM Passport Office sending messages for passport applications and Lasting Power of Attorney deputy reports for the Office of the Public Guardian.

Share this page


Add new comment

Related Articles

Pen idea Civica CEO Wayne Story says company remains in ‘middle tier’ of suppliers as it launches new digital division
13 January 2017

Civica is large enough to take on big transformation government projects but small enough to be seen as “part of the team”, chief executive Wayne Story has said at the launch of its dedicated...

Crystal ball, Lego Political upheaval, Blockchain and data protection: What does 2017 have in store for tech?
23 December 2016

As the New Year approaches, PublicTechnology takes a look at what we might expect in the world of digital government in 2017. 

keyboard, search GDS: Civil servants ‘wasting time’ producing content that users can’t find
6 December 2016

Three-quarters of GOV.UK content is looked at by less than 10 people a month, according to figures from the Government Digital Service.

Shelves with patient files NHS England moots regional-level data collection to support national analytics
19 January 2017

Regional NHS bodies could soon be asked to collect patient information to create a ‘data-lake’ for use at a national level, according to an NHS England consultation document....

Related Sponsored Articles

A picture of Health Innovators You should Know About Health Innovators You Should Know About: FlowForma's no-code, logic-only solution
19 December 2016

Microsoft partner FlowForma walks through its efforts to empower local government as part of a series that highlights local government innovators across the UK

A picture of Ready to innovate: How local government is responding to budget pressure Ready to innovate: How local government is responding to budget pressure
19 December 2016

Microsoft partner CPS walks through its efforts to empower local government as part of a series that highlights local government innovators across the UK

A picture of transforming the public sector Transforming the Public Sector with Dynamics 365
7 December 2016

Microsoft looks at how intelligent business applications can help the public sector improve service delivery

A picture of London's police London’s police officers get new tool to fight crime
2 December 2016

Police forces across London have stepped up the fight against crime by using Microsoft’s Azure cloud service