Hackathon AppsForDemocracy 2016: Application mobile de l’ARP

Du 29 au 30 Octobre 2016 a eu lieu à l’espace Cogite aux Berges du Lac la seconde édition du Hackathon AppsForDemocracy; un rendez-vous annuel qui réunit producteur et consommateur de données pour mettre en valeur et créer des applications à valeurs ajoutées à partir des données ouvertes.

Cette édition a été marquée par un nombre plus élevée de données ouverte par rapport à l’année dernière, due principalement au lancement de la plateforme opendata de l’énergie et de la culture, en plus des données qui étaient déjà disponible avant.

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Opening Up X-Road for the Developers Community

Launched in 2001, X-Road is the data exchange layer that is actually powering the e-Services infrastructure in Estonia.  It’s a technical and organisational environment, which enables secure Internet-based data exchange between the state’s information systems.

x-road

The key element of Estonian eGovernment program is that all its databases are decentralized, which mean there is no single owner or controller, and no locks into any database or software provider. Read more

Tunisia 2.0 and e-Government, Strategies and Tactics, public draft paper

I mentioned sometimes ago on my twitter account that I’m working on a e-Gov book, since it’s a work in progress and it might take more time to go live, I have decided to start a white paper about e-Government to put practical guidelines toward implementing successfully an e-Government in the country.

After the Tunisian revolution I was glad to see active Facebook pages for some ministries, but I was annoyed when I saw some Facebook applications implemented as services by these ministries. I’m not against these applications or against using Facebook platform, however I believe that our country need a serious e-Government plan with five key objectives :

  • Transparency
  • Flexibility
  • Services
  • Efficiency
  • Follow-up

Today I’m pleased to announce the first public release of this paper. Anyone on Internet can find, view and edit, so you are welcome to voice your opinions and contribute. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Of course you are welcome to edit anonymously, however I suggest you to use your Google Account to give you credits for contribution.

Tunisia 2.0 and e-Government, Strategies and Tactics, public draft paper is available here (Google Document, No sign-in required)

YEFI e-Government Interoperability Framework

yesser-logoPart of Yesser e-Gov program an interoperability framework called YEFI. The framework concern any entity that exchange data and integrate services for the consumption and benefit of the public.

From yesser website, YEFI is defined as “a unified framework to implement e-government. It includes cross – governmental specifications and policies, to enable cross – governmental integration and facilitate G2G transactions and data sharing.”

While reading deeply about YEFI, I noticed that the framework cover almost everything we need – for integration purpose at least – between different government institutions. The common part of the schemas between different ministries is almost the same : Address, ID number, place & date of birth, Last and first name, while they keep different names.

The creation of data catalog is the first step to get these data defined, where every entry should include as fields : Name, Business information, Format, Validation, Verification, XML Schema IDs, Values, Default value, Owner, Version and Acceptance date. The data schema will be in this case the collection of all these elements defined in data catalog.

The schema should include meta data; if we are sending person’s data for example the schema should start with meta data as : Business object created, Business object updated, owner, data schema ID, Global unique object ID; then followed by person data as : Person birth place & date, First & Last name … etc.

A central repository for the standardized schemas is required to handle persistent data of oudated schemas. As every institution data might evolve over the years, and data schema will be updated; a repository should be available to document schemas versions and conversion rules.

The recommended integration technologies standards are : WebServices for middleware, UTF-16 for character sets, XML/XSL and XML schema, and finally RDF as resource description framework.

More details on YEFI program and technical documentation are available at http://www.yesser.gov.sa/english/YEFI.asp

e-Government as Platform

Ten years ago, e-Government was a term that every Government started working hardly to study, implement, and understand better how new information technologies could help making better Government services for people. Things started with legislation and laws in different countries, and step by step we started seeing countries embracing the e-Government concept 100%.

Building e-Government services is not that hard, not that easy also. There are many steps that should be followed to be able – at a certain time – to move totally from an old paper-based system, to a fully electronic system.

The most interesting in e-Government that you are building services for people, and people are the customers, the users, while they usually never interact during the building process – but we have many considerations to keep in mind while building for people.

Some interesting steps in e-Gov creation where we should focus mainly include :

  • Business Process Re-engineering
  • e-Government system architecture
  • Systems interoperability and scalability
  • Security : systems, network, and end-users
  • Cost consideration : hardware, software, network, development in-house, outsourcing, and management
  • Web-enabling requirements : accessibility, usability, technologies standards
  • Supporting Multiple Communication channels
  • Internal software and hardware for administration (legacy systems) : RH, Finance, DMS, Archiving, CRM, Workflow, Communication (Email, Voice, IM)

It is interesting to turn Governments process into e-Services, but building platforms that support different business process levels G2G, G2B and G2C is much more interesting.

Some experts started talking about Government 2.0, or Government as Platform. A great concept especially since it allows anybody to build government services or integrate it with other already established business process elsewhere.

The problem is that building platforms is totally different from building services, and IT developers/architects used to create web applications that do not scale at the Government level. One of these problems is the execution of the CAP theorem in Governments web applications. The fact that we require “strong consistency” in e-Government is a major limitation for high availability in web platforms.

“eventual consistency is an  eventual solution, but implement it correctly is a major obstacle. The reason why developers/architects have to better understand the best practices for building eventually consistent systems, in highly available environments.

(HBY) Consultancy