The IFX Forum Steering Committee approved formation of the Open APIs Working Group in April 2017. The focus of the API WG will be adapting the IFX Business Message Specification to JSON/REST-based APIs and micro-services that can be implemented on any technology platform of choice.

Background

Dominant trends in the banking and financial services marketplace are leading financial institutions (FIs) to provide broader access to customer and account data by third party providers and trusted partners via application programming interfaces (APIs).  In the EU and UK such access is required by regulation; in the U.S. and elsewhere market pressures and consumer behavior are forcing FIs to deploy similar capabilities.

Purpose

The API WG is being formed to adapt the IFX specification to both technical and business trends.  The WG will determine how to represent the IFX message standard in JSON and REST terms and will document our notion of best practices and publish implementation guide(s).

It is also possible that the WG will define a set of Open Banking APIs that may be considered IFX Standard APIs or, alternatively, IFX recommended APIs.

Approach

The IFX Architecture Committee has conducted preliminary analysis and proof-of-concept efforts that resulted in a list of considerations for adapting the IFX standard to APIs and micro-services.  That list will be thoroughly reviewed and addressed by the API WG.

Given the practical reality of PSD2 requirements and the fact that IFX and BIAN have an ongoing project with Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) students who expect to create working APIs, the WG proposes to review and refine that example to produce well-formed APIs that can be deployed by FIs and third-party providers (TPPs) as described in PSD2.  Such APIs can be used to promote the fact that IFX can readily address real-world requirements.

With that work accomplished, the API WG will then apply the specific lessons learned to more generally adapt the IFX Object Model, Message Model and overall framework to JSON/REST and micro-service definitions.

The API WG will:

  • Provide recommendations and responses to each point raised by the Architecture Committee
  • Document and recommend best practices and basic design assumptions to adapt the IFX Object Model to include RESTful resources in JSON and XML formats
  • Document and recommend best practices and basic design assumptions to adapt the Message Model using RESTful architecture
  • Either recommend tools and techniques that facilitate using the IFX Version 2.x BMS as a basis for APIs and micro-services or recommend a strategy to create a new version of the BMS based on version 2.x to address the needs

The APIWG may:

  • Build and propose a list of APIs based on the capabilities available in the IFX standard
  • Build or recommend tools to generate JSON/REST APIs similar to the existing XSD generator and Swagger file generator
  • Identify specific data aggregates to be considered standard REST resources
  • Propose and draft public position statement(s) that promote the IFX standard as suitable for deploying APIs
  • Recommend adopting new or alternative media types for IFX
  • Compare ISO 20022 to IFX for the scope of resources chosen by the WG

Preliminary Timeline

Future deliverables and activities (dates are preliminary and will be refined as the WG learns more):

  1. May 2017 – First face-to-face meeting of the APIs Working Group
  2. May 2017 – Review and prioritize the Architecture log items
  3. May 2017 – Review the CMU project results for PSD2 APIs
  4. June-July 2017 – Modify the PSD2 APIs to represent well-formed IFX APIs
  5. June-July 2017 – Assess whether there are any other APIs necessary to fully comply with PSD2 in accordance with the 2018 deadlines as directed by the EUC and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) open banking initiative
  6. July-Aug 2017 – Create and/or recommend tools to adapt the remainder of the IFX BMS v2x
    July-Ongoing – Documentation of conclusions and recommendations to be reviewed with IFX Architecture as the basis for APIs and micro-services as part of the IFX standard

Benefits of the Initiative

By the end of 2017 it should be feasible to promote a fully RESTful version of the IFX standard that can be represented with JSON and XML data resources.

Sponsors

The initial list of sponsoring members is shown in this press release.