Following on from our work of the last sprint, this past fortnight we’ve been working on exposing the transcripts of debates from the data we’ve captured. There are currently on the parliament website a couple of ways to review Hansard. The rolling page, which exists whenever the house is sitting, and then the historical pages where you can review content from pretty much any date in the past.
Our sprint goal was look at ways at creating functionality that extends beyond what is currently on parliament’s website, to build a common look and feel for the content regardless of the date, and to enhance the work we have already done to make divisions and contributions searchable by linking directly from search results to the debate where the result happened. We also wanted to experiment with the UI and see if we could bring something a little closer to a “chat” type interface to a debate transcript.
You can now browse debates from May 2013 for the Commons and the Lords using the calendar picker (same one as we’ve used elsewhere on the site), days with content will be highlighted for ease of use. Once a day has been chosen, a list of all the debates that happened on that date will be shown and from there it is simply a case of clicking to have a read. When reading a debate we have permalinks for every contribution, and when searching for divisions or contributions via options from the menu, results will link you straight to the pertinent section of the debate.
If all this wasn’t enough, we’ve made some tweaks to our previous work as well – you can now search freely for both divisions and contributions with no restrictions on date ranges. To enable this we have built pagination onto the search result pages and enhanced our API to also support skip and take on the results. We’ve improved our date picker to make it easier for you to navigate the site too.
Our next sprint, which will likely be the last one on this for a little while, will bring some better searching of debates and divisions, some data visualisations and hopefully a little bit of fun with video…