1. Working with Parašykjiems application

    International collaboration is crucial in work on cloned of the same tool – in this case we are talking about WriteToThem. Jaroslav from KohoVolit team has posted great update on their current work with application prepared in Lithuania by the Parašykjiems team:

    “We have also installed the necessary platform for Lithuanian WTT – Parašykjiems, the source code itself and after a short fight get it running on the localhost. A small error needed to be fixed. I am getting familiar with the application as well as the Python+Django platform and hopefuly start soon with customization for Czech republic.”

    The team is testing a scraper of data and updater for Senate. The updater of Chamber of Deputies is ready and working, so with this bit done they should have it ready for the entire Czech Parliament.

  2. KohoVolit.eu last week

    We have posted that the Czech parliament data still needed to be incorporated in the development of scraping process of KohoVolit.eu structure. Jaroslav posted an update yesterday stating that this part of work, mainly the part for the data of Lower House of Czech Parliament is ready now:

    “The updater scraping the data from the Lower house of Parliament of Czech republic and storing them into KohoVolit.eu database structure is ready now. The downloaded and processed information include MPs data (personal data, image, contact information, assistants, office), constituencies, groups (political groups, committees, commissions, etc.), membership of the MPs in those groups and roles they stand. All those data will be updated nightly from the official website of Czech parliament.”

    Now the team will focus on main functionality of WTT site and ensure that the list of office addresses and constituencies associated to the right representatives, as well as contact details of MP’s is complete and ready to use.

  3. WriteToThem Slovakia collaboration with SME.sk

    KohoVolit.eu team has also talked to representatives of SME.sk – major news portal in Slovakia. It looks like the news portal is interested in the integration of local WriteToThem clone into the SME.sk website.

    “They are interested in an easy way to immediately write to the politician directly from the article where he is mentioned. We expect to insert the writing form also to their web and create a simple widget for inserting to articles that refers to the form. Thus readers can write to a particular politician directly from the SME portal. More advanced features like search of the best representative to write to or browsing in sent messages marked as public and the respective politicians’ answers will be available only on our main site.”

    As mentioned by Jaroslav in his original post, integration will take place in May, when the Slovak clone of the site will be completed.

  4. WriteToThem in Czech Republic and Slovakia

    Jaroslav from KohoVolit.eu team has posted an update on their local clone of WriteToThem portal. The team has decided upon names of the local domains:

    “Among a dozen of candidates the classics won – the domains being registered this week are NapisteJim.cz and NapisteIm.sk which means exactly “write to them” in Czech and in Slovak language. So, together with the Lithuanian ParasykJiems.lt and UK WriteToThem.com the family of “write to them” named sites is growing to at least four. (I wonder why the UK version is on .com domain.)”

    Team is working on development of of the scrapers and updaters for two chambers of Czech parliament and hopes to finalise the Czech site at the end of April. Slovak part of the portal is planned to be completed in May.

  5. KohoVolit.eu this week

    Jaroslav posted on KohoVolit.eu blog that their team has finished data scraper for Chamber of deputies of Czech parliament:

    “The scraping of official website will be performed periodically to keep the data up-to-date. Three issues are needed to address within it: insert new information that appeared on the official website into the database, update the information that is already stored in the database but it has changed on the official website and finally mark the information in the database that is no more present on the official website as obsolete. The obsolete information is rather marked than completely deleted in sake of references to history or providing some statistics in time. The same is true for any database updates – the original information is never deleted but together with time interval it was valid through moved to the set of historical records.

    Thus the scraper that solely extracts the data from source is called by an updater that controls the process of updating data in the database.”

    Next steps? Similar scraper for the Senate and updaters for both!;)

  6. WriteToThem clones in the region

    After the meeting in January, Darius has worked with Jaroslav and Danko on changes to the WTT clone in Lithuania required to make it possible for other teams to use it as a starting point of their own platforms.

    Most of the internationalization work is done, although email templates and some small things still needs polishing:

    “I have made necessary DB refactorings, so that it would be possible to import data for Serbian and Chech/Slovakia WTT.”

    There is still work to be done, but it’s really good to see this international cooperation arriving to the stage where others can avoid re-inventing the wheel, instead building on the work already done in Lithuania.

  7. eDemocracy Day

    We have posted earlier on about eDemocracy Day planned in Prague. Veronika has just updated us that the event was really successful. 25 projects from Czech Repubik, Slovakia and Poland were presented during the day. There was also scope for collaboration and additional questions. As posted a second ago on our blog – Jaroslav presented newly prepared API and discussed it with representatives other teams, who have similar plans.

    Veronika promised photo documentation, in the meantime posting the topics of the event:

    “The main topics were: Parliament watchdogging, Public procurement, Project sustainability, Data sharing and API, and Watchdog and Media.”

    We are really keep to hear more about it, so let’s hope we will have more information soon.

  8. KohoVolit.eu last week

    Jaroslav Semancik has updated KohoVolit.eu blog with information on their API:

    “We have now API working and providing access to database for our applications as well as for other sites interested in our data. Some optimizations and documentation of the code are needed yet.”

    Those recent developments within the project have been presented on the regional arena too:

    “I presented the API on our eDemocracy Day that was held yesterday. An interesting finding was that most of the projects are going to provide some API or thinking about it. We may have provided some inspiration how to do it.”

    Really good to see that their work is a potential source of inspiration to others! Great news!

  9. KohoVolit.eu last week

    Late last night Jaroslav has posted an update on the work of KohoVolit.eu team last week. It looks like they faced a new challenge related to historical data in their system:

    “There is a whole field called temporal databases in the database theory about representing data varying in time with full history not only the current state.”

    According to Jaroslav translations and free attributes used by the team, together with changes in MP’s data and requests became a new challenge:

    “The main issue of this week was search for a reasonable trade-of between complexity of the database and comfort in access to the history. And how to put all things together. As a result I significantly altered the schema again. I believe it suits to our needs fine now. Besides, it was an interesting trip to PostgreSQL 9 features and learning how to fully exploit its capabilities.”

  10. KohoVolit.eu this week

    Veronika is away this week, and it looks like Jaroslav has been absent for a few days too, but did post today about the developments in API and WTT work:

    “Some issues of the database model were redesigned. Ability to store changes in data in time was added. This was merged with the way in which translations and free attributes of the entities are represented. As a result a lot of tables could be removed.”

    Next steps:

    “Testing of the API architecture and writing individual API functions to access database entities (MPs, groups, constituencies, etc.) continues.”

    Great stuff, Jaroslav, thank you for the post!:)