State of aviation software recommendations

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I am in the process of writing an article on the state of aviation software with specific

One of my key recommendations is going to be that the FAA provide briefing data (i.e.
weather, etc) via an API. APIs (application programming interfaces) are simple services that
allow one computer server to communicate directly with another (i.e. this is how third parties
send a receive data to/from Twitter, Facebook, etc).

FAA APIs would allow third parties to pull briefing data directly from the FAA. The FAA would
only need minimal hardware to support this if they used a solution such as Amazon's S3 or
EC2 web services.

Before I make this recommendation, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me their thoughts
regarding this solution. Specifically:
1. How do third parties like DUAT, DUATS, FlightAware, ForeFlight, etc, receive their data from
the FAA?
2. Most importantly, what are the political and business implications for the FAA and current
data vendors?

I'm sure that the AOPA would be very helpful, but I'd like your feedback too.

Many thanks,

-- Joe Moreno, December 1, 2010