[openspending-dev] Improvement of offenerhaushalt.at

Friedrich Lindenberg friedrich.lindenberg at okfn.org
Thu Apr 18 15:33:32 UTC 2013

Hi Bernhard,

I really like the tasks you've drawn up for the offenerhaushalt.at, it's a
fairly cool list. I'm also happy to hear that you're pushing this forward
and I'm sure you'll find great ways of collaborating with the OpenSpending
team to extend the software.

I don't want to comment on the multiple instance/many instances thing.
Still, looking at the task list, I would really urge you to implement most
of the items (i.e. all of (2)) outside of the main OpenSpending software.
Implementing this into the core will be slower, more expensive and
architecturally less clean than doing it on top of the API, and as far as I
can judge from the descriptions these are all readily supported by the
programming interface as is.

What I would do is either implement most of these in JavaScript directly in
the user's browser, or in a secondary app using the OS API (which you could
render out into static HTML - see https://github.com/nprapps/app-template).
This latter option is the one I'm planning for the next revision of
OffenerHaushalt, should I ever find time to work on it :/. You could still
run your own instance of OpenSpending core, e.g. at
data.offenerhaushalt.at-- thats how Where Does My Money Go worked a
few years ago.

Having a secondary application to do more specific business logic would
also allow you to think about authorisation more flexibly for front-end
stuff, although I wonder whether -- if you provide more information to the
governments than to the citizens - the label "offenerhaushalt" is really
all that adequate. It seems like a fairly conservative approach. I think
budget transparency projects should really negotiate towards equal access
to information, especially if the government is the customer - otherwise
it's just good old eGov.

Best regards,

 - Friedrich

p.s. to be clear: I'm not part of the OpenSpending team any more, this is
just my personal two cents.

On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM, Krabina Bernhard <krabina at kdz.or.at>wrote:

> Dear Openspending Community,
> as you might have read already, on the Open Data Day in February this
> year, some folks from the Austrian Open Knowledge community installed the
> Openspending software at http://www.offenerhaushalt.at and we provided
> first visualzations of budget data from the cities of Graz and Salzburg.
> This raised some questions in the community wheter or not we should have
> done it differently: by creating a satellite site, storing the data in
> openspending.org and wrapping all user interface elements on the
> satellite site. Besides us not knowing what the preferred way to go is at
> the time of the Hackathlon, we are now quite certain that we still need a
> separate intallation.
> This is mainly due to the fact that
> 1. We have all the data of the Austrian municipalities available already.
> Due to legal reasons, we can only make them available to the public if each
> municipality individually agrees. Unless we have this agreement, we can
> only store the data in a database we have control over and provide the
> data/visualisation to the municipalities they refer to. Of course we
> believe in public and open budget data, but it will take a while until we
> have all 2.354 municipalities convinced :-)
> 2. We will provide additional features in the future that go beyond open
> budget data and will be very specific to Austria/relevant only to the
> financial departments of the municipalities. E. g. we calculate indicators
> based on budget data and provide these to the municipalities themselves.
> The question on whether these indicataors can be made open is again subject
> to the decision of the municipality.
> As of course we understand that once we use open source software for our
> purposes, we have to give something back, we will be happy to talk to you
> about delivering (or somehow automatically grabbing) all data that has been
> made open to openspending.org, but this should be posponed to later this
> year.
> And - even more important - we have some (limited) budget to fund some
> improvments of the software. Part of these improvements will be usable for
> many other openspending installations, other parts may be only interesting
> for the use cases in Austria.
> I have put up a first draft for the tasks that need to be done (and can
> partly be funded) here: http://kdz.okfnpad.org/1
> Please feel free to make comments/edits. Beware that this is a very first
> draft and we are still in the process of getting a clearer picture of what
> we want wo accomplish ourselves, but at this stage I believe it already
> makes sense to discuss the tasks with you. If you are a developer (or plan
> to become one) for openspending and are interested in taking over one of
> these tasks, please raise your hands. We will have to discuss funding
> options individually (we need some kind of contract and a bill in order to
> be able to pay you for work you have delivered). We are also trying to
> bring new developers from Austria to the project to take over tasks.
> We are looking forward to working with you on this and hearing your
> opinions!
> Best regards,
> Bernhard
> --
> Mag. Bernhard Krabina
> KDZ - Zentrum für Verwaltungsforschung
> Centre for Public Administration Research
> Guglgasse 13, 1110 Wien
> Telefon: +43  1 8923492-27, Fax: +43 1 8923492-20
> Mobil:   +43 676 849579-27, Twitter: @krabina
> mailto:krabina at kdz.or.at - http://www.kdz.or.at
> - Plattform Verwaltungskooperation:
>   http://www.verwaltungskooperation.at
> - Open Government Vorgehensmodell
>   http://www.kdz.eu/de/open-government-vorgehensmodell
> KDZ News: WIFO-KDZ-Workshop: Effizienz in der Förderpolitik
> http://www.kdz.eu/de/wifo-kdz-workshop-effizienz-der-f%C3%B6rderpolitik
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