Boston.gov opens its source code

Boston.gov opens its source code

Like the new Boston.gov website? If you’re a software developers or municipal website manager, you can build your own version by grabbing the freely available source code and tweaking as you see fit.

The city’s Digital Team just released the entirety of its source code on GitHub so that developers can continue to enhance the site and other cities can benefit from it.

According to the city officials, when the Drupal-based website first went live earlier this year, people volunteered to help with the site, and other cities asked to use it as a model. By open sourcing Boston.gov, the city intends to “democratize” the website and work with external organizations like Boston University to build new features.

And along with engaging the technology community to improve Boston.gov, the city is "allowing other cities who are a part of this sort of website redesign epidemic that’s sweeping the country, [to] use features of our website or the entire thing so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Boston’s Chief Digital Officer Lauren Lockwood said at an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation panel on Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C.

Going forward, Boston will make the web applications and enhancements it develops open by default. This is where Lockwood said cities could benefit from sharing how to build and scale innovative projects. “There’s a really interesting opportunity with open-source code by default --  opening our data and learning from each other.”

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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