The difference between registers and special applications is that registers are created to fulfil a legal mandate. In many cases, the data in the registers must be made entirely or at least partly available to the public in accordance with legal regulations. Special applications, on the other hand, are primarily tools that make it easier for public administrations to carry out their legal mandates.
Today, registers and special applications are implemented as Web applications. More and more frequently, they contain Web service interfaces based on the SOAP protocol. As part of the cooperation efforts in eGovernment projects, data structures were normalised for non application-specific cross-sector elements which were introduced in the communication architecture section. These elements are responsible for communication between authorities applications, such as sending personal data, searching for information or returning error messages.
Registers and special applications require several lists that contain the same reference data, for example, academic grading scales or country codes. As part of the supporting infrastructure, an application for central reference tables is currently in development in which this type of data can be maintained and distributed automatically. This central store will drastically reduce the amount of routine maintenance effort that, until now, had to be done by each individual application.