Open311 with .NET and Visual Studio

Many of you (well, some of you) may have listened in to the call (or read about) regarding San Francisco’s Open311 API – if you missed it, you can find more details at these sites:

Having a standard specification/API for services like this is an incredible help for developers, as they’ll be able to build innovative solutions that integrate with SF’s 311 system, and that'll lead to better citizen service (and more citizen participation).  On top of that, the more organizations/agencies/municipalities, etc., that participate and use the standard, the easier it will be for developers to build solutions that can can be used across the US.  That’s the nice thing about standards :)

The next step is figuring out how to use the APIs… to help, I took some of the specs from the San Francisco WIKI and put together a .NET class that exposes the SelectService, CreateRequest, and StatusUpdate APIs

In general - it's a fairly straightforward API and specification.  And I used the WCF REST Starter kit to simply convert the XML Schemas into the .NET Class (  I'd like to say that it was more challenging and took a really big brain to get it done... but that's just not the case (I'll just have to prove my worth elsewhere). 

I’ve attached the source to this blog (note: the spec didn’t define the schemas and datatypes in detail, so I defaulted to string for most fields… will update as more information comes out).

Of course… the real value would be to connect the .NET class up to a service… but I’m not aware of any sandboxes, yet.  I’m considering putting something up in Azure, but probably need some more heavy snow days to get the time.

I think that Open311 has a lot of potential… and .NET developers will really get significant benefit from such a standard (and will create some great applications).  I look forward to continued advancement of the specification – and would love to see some creative solutions in the near term.

Incidentally, I'm speaking in the Developer Track of Fedscoop's "Roadmap to the Clouds" next week in D.C. ( - agenda:, at the Ronald Reagan Building.  Please feel free to stop by - if you need a complimentary pass to the event, contact me (