A Standards' Focus for APIs

Conexxus and International Forecourt Standards Forum announce standardized API initiative and public repository.

February 27, 2020

WASHINGTON—Conexxus and the International Forecourt Standards Forum (IFSF) have announced a joint initiative aimed at creating standardized application programming interfaces (APIs). This standardization will greatly reduce the time to market, development cost and maintenance overhead of digital transformation, a key strategy for competing in the increasingly digital landscape of convenience retail.

The API initiative is the result of an intense analysis of how both Conexxus and IFSF can better serve their membership in the face of increasing disruption in our retail segment. The initiative also addresses the need to modernize the data standards framework using modern, proven formats, helping to ensure the industry is synchronized with current technologies.

“We have heard much about the ‘API economy,’ and how all sectors of the economy are turning to well-defined APIs to make legacy systems relevant in the future, while enabling quick adoption of new business models and innovations that keep a business in-step with rapidly changing consumer needs,” said Gray Taylor, executive director of Conexxus. “By rapidly migrating our standards focus to APIs, we intend to save the industry millions in development costs and years in development time.”

The joint effort will not only focus on a complete suite of consumable APIs for its members but also will create a comprehensive data dictionary that clearly defines all of the data elements common in members’ operations. This common dictionary will enable easy sharing of data with partners as well as allow for a faster creation of data lakes for the next phase of business analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Many of our members are global in operations, and by providing a well-defined data dictionary and globally applicable APIs together with associated tools, e.g. test scripts, we are jointly delivering a powerful toolset that our members can leverage. We are well advanced in our development of the FDC API suite which will be available shortly,” said Heather Price, chair of IFSF.

As part of the launch, Conexxus and IFSF have created a collaborative GitLab repository of sample APIs, design documents and relevant data dictionary for interested parties—openretailing.org—which can be accessed directly, or via the Conexxus and IFSF websites. While some sections of the site will require a login for access, substantial sections will be available to the public.

Insertion of modern collaborative tools into the standards development process is an essential part of the API initiative. GitLab is a source content management system supporting more than 100,000 users, encompassing enterprises such as IBM, Sony and NASA. A major focus for GitLab is support for DevOps, an important consideration in the API development area.

Conexxus will be hosting a webinar today at 12 p.m. ET, that is open to anyone interested in learning more about the API initiative and how it can impact your products and technology stack.  Visit the following link to reserve your place: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8270551057901712897?