Monthly Archives: March 2014

Digital Democracy

Some of the team have just got back from a marketplace event for the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy.

There were a number of interesting “stalls” at this event, ranging from some very exciting (and Silverlight free) work by the A/V team, to the latest from the upcoming Question and Answer system.

What was most pleasing for me was to see some of the applications created by the Rapid Apps Team being shown off by our customers to those attending the session. The new Order Paper system,  electronic voting for the Lords and the Committee Evidence portal were all on display and attracting a lot of interest from MPs, clerks, students and digital champions alike.

Of course, always being on the lookout to promote some of our digital prototypes, I handed out a few cards with the URL to our new HTML5 mobile app MP Finder

As the first live app (beta!) the team has built we are hoping it gets some positive feedback.

The event was hosted in the Speaker’s state rooms in the palace. Now there is a pretty spectacular river view to be had from there should anyone want a motivation to become speaker. On the downside, living that close to Big Ben must really put a dent in the quality of sleep you get. I guess go to bed after midnight to avoid the worst of the noise!

Hello world!

Hello world indeed.¬†This is the blog of the Parliamentary Rapid Apps Team. A troubling acronym if ever there was one, but I promise it’s no reflection on our work!

The team was set up late last year with a remit to try to do things a bit differently to how development has been done in the past. Broadly speaking, our goals are:

  • To work very closely with our customers – internal at present but hopefully external customers in the future – to create applications that improve the workflows and day to day lives of staff behind the scenes at the Houses of Parliament, and to do this quickly and efficiently using an agile, iterative development methodology.
  • To try to provide some useful data sets based on the applications we are creating.
  • To build some apps that consume these and other pre-existing data sets to demonstrate what can be done to make our data more interesting. It is possible!

What I’m hoping is that over time this will become a useful resource of information about some of the development projects underway at Parliament. I’ll share alpha/beta versions of some of the systems and/or data services we’re building to get feedback from potential users. With a bit of luck, we’ll share some code as well.

So that’s the introduction. I aim to post something at least once a sprint (fortnightly) but we’ll see how that goes…