Standard for Public Code

Use open standards


  • For features of a codebase that facilitate the exchange of data the codebase MUST use an open standard that meets the Open Source Initiative Open Standard Requirements.
  • If no existing open standard is available, effort SHOULD be put into developing one.
  • Standards that are machine testable SHOULD be preferred over those that are not.
  • Functionality using features from a standard that is not an open standard MAY be provided if necessary, but only in addition to compliant features.
  • All non-compliant standards used MUST be recorded clearly in the documentation.
  • The codebase SHOULD contain a list of all the standards used with links to where they are available.

Why this is important

  • Creates interoperability between systems.
  • Reduces possible vendor lock-in.
  • Guarantees access to the knowledge required to reuse and contribute to the codebase.

What this does not do

  • Make it understandable how to use the software.

How to test

  • The documentation includes a list of the standards.
  • The standards used for all features that offer interoperability with other components and systems are freely and publicly available on the internet.

Policy makers: what you need to do

  • Mandate use of open standards everywhere possible.
  • Prohibit procurement of technology that does not use open standards.

Management: what you need to do

  • Consider including open standard compliance assessment in code reviews.

Developers and designers: what you need to do

  • Add continuous integration tests for compliance with the standards.