James Mead by James Mead

Week 159

Somewhere in Brazil a butterfly flapped its wings and the great goddess, Harmonia, chose me to write the week-notes this week. Although she’s nominated me plenty of times for other company tasks, in an almost petulant demonstration of the unpredictability of randomness, this is the first time she’s picked me to note the week.

Gov UK

Having completed our work on #blue with O2, the whole team was back at Aviation House this week working on the Whitehall-facing part of the government single domain project. The big event of the week was undoubtably the release of the beta version of the citizen-facing part of the project. We offer hearty congratulations to our comrades in the citizen team.

It feels really positive that such a high-profile government IT project is being delivered in an incremental and iterative way using an open source stack and very refreshing that it’s already adapting in response to user feedback. We’d really encourage everyone to take the new site for a spin. The buzz in the office and all the positive media coverage has certainly injected extra enthusiasm for getting the Whitehall app ready for release.


Now that more real content is being added to the system, Jase has been working hard to iterate on the design and make things more consistent across the site. Neil and Pete continue to marshall stories as well as throngs of writers across government who are busy entering data into the system. The Whitehall app aims to put government policy centre stage, but one challenge that Neil and his posse face is that there is no single clear definition of what constitutes government policy.

This week we bade farewell (or hopefully only au revoir) to Tom S who has been a very welcome addition to the GFR team for the last few weeks. We wish him good luck in his new ventures and hope we get the chance to work with him again in the future. We’re also looking forward to working more closely with members of the citizen team, now that their release is out the way, as we begin to handover development of the app to those with a more permanent association with the Government Digital Service.

The week was nicely rounded off by our first Github pull request from a member of the public. May there be many more!

In other news

It looks like James A has renewed his interest in persuading his computer to talk to very small printers - I only hope Timmy isn’t too jealous. Jase has somehow found time amidst his copious ceramic throwing to put together an EP. I’ve been trying, but failing, to keep up with a recent surge of interest in mocha. I’m curious whether this burst of activity has anything to do with the renewed interest in using a more object-oriented approach to developing Rails apps. Tom W managed to wrestle Go Free Range’s Annual Return into submission (to Companies House) and Chris continued to astound me with his incredible attention to detail.


— James.

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