Extreme Makeover, Data.gov Edition

Earlier this week, Data.gov relaunched with a beautiful new redesign. Behind it is a powerful CMS platform called WordPress. The previous version of the site ran on a mix of Drupal and other proprietary systems, but as Marion Royal points out in a blog post explaining the relaunch, development on the previous version of the site was done behind closed doors. Marion goes on to explain the open source ethos that was put into play with this update of the site:

Now we’re using open source systems, including WordPress and CKAN. Most importantly, the development is public from the beginning on GitHub so you can see how the site came to be, and will continue to grow. We’ve already had significant help from the open source community and look forward to more.

Data.gov is one of the most innovative initiatives inside of the federal government. A talented team of designers and developers are working hard to expose millions of pieces of government data from across the entire government so that citizens, along with government entities, can leverage that data for good. From the Data.gov website:

Data.gov is the home of the US government’s open data. You can find Federal, state and local data, tools, and resources to conduct research, build apps, design data visualizations, and more. The Data.gov team works at the U.S. General Services Administration, but the site itself is open source, and we’d love your help making it even better.

I have personally worked closely with many of the developers who helped to steer this project. I have been continuously impressed by their level of dedication to opening up government data and putting it into the hands of those who want to use it to make America a better place. I expect big things out of this team, and I believe that Data.gov — and other similar initiatives — can help redefine the way citizens view the work that the government does. It’s an exciting time to be working on these issues and I’m very excited to see WordPress at the center of the action in Washington, DC.

Data.gov on GitHub.

WordPress Powers Health Care Reform

In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed landmark comprehensive health care reform known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and also known as ‘ObamaCare’.

Yesterday, a critical component of the legislation rolled out, giving American consumers the chance to purchase health policies on the open market by joining a pool of other buyers, which legislators and policy analysts believe will ultimately drive down the cost of health care for everyone. In some instances, these exchanges are being run by the states and in other cases, the federal government is administering the marketplace.

We were very excited to see that WordPress is the dominant content management system being used to power these exchange websites and as a result of this powerful platform, yesterday, millions of Americans from coast to coast researched their heath care options and began the open enrollment process.

Here are some great examples of WordPress being put to work behind large, enterprise-level websites who are dealing with complicated data structures, high traffic demands and of course, sensitive security.

Get Covered America

http://www.getcoveredamerica.org/

Get Covered Illinois

http://getcoveredillinois.gov/

HealthSource RI

http://www.healthsourceri.com/

New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange

http://www.nmhix.com/

Connect For Health Colorado

http://connectforhealthco.com/

Hawaiʻi Health Connector

http://www.hawaiihealthconnector.com/

Massachusetts Health Connector

https://bettermahealthconnector.org/

Maryland Health Connection

http://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/

Hungry for more information? The Kaiser Family Foundation (powered by WordPress.com VIP) has a great resource on their new website. If you’d like to get in touch to find out more about hosting your website on WordPress.com VIP, you can contact us here!

Comcast Commemorates The March On Washington with New WordPress Site

To commemorate today’s 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a major milestone of the Civil Rights Movement where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, new WordPress.com VIP client, Comcast has launched His Dream, Our Stories.

The site chronicles the history and impact of the civil rights movement and features more than 80 unique and personal interviews with civic leaders, elders, clergy, and activists.

Through commentary and archived footage, His Dream, Our Stories provides historic context for the March on Washington, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement through interviews from influential leaders, including Rev. Billy Kyles, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine, political leaders like Rep. John Lewis and attendees of the March on Washington, the Detroit Walk to Freedom and the Selma-Montgomery March.

On this historic anniversary, please take a few minutes to check out the site and share it with your colleagues, friends and family.

His Dream Our Stories   Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

 

Interested in VIP Support for self-hosted enterprise and corporate sites? Get in touch

The White House launches Next.Data.Gov on WordPress

The White House just announced that they are launching a new generation of Data.gov, moving to a WordPress / CKAN based approach with their newest iteration called: Next.Data.Gov. Here’s a quick look at the new site:

Next.Data.Gov

Here’s more from the White House’s blog:

Last week, President Obama talked about the importance of opening government data to the American people, so entrepreneurs and business owners can use those troves of information to create jobs and solve problems that government can’t solve by itself. In remarks last Monday, he noted many examples of the Administration’s progress toward making that happen, saying:

“At Data.gov, you can search through and download more than 75,000 data sets – data on everything from what different hospitals charge for different procedures, to credit card complaints, to weather and climate measurements.”

And:

Scalable and Open Source: Next.Data.Gov was built using new tools. This project tapped into two very active open source projects: WordPress and CKAN. The content and community sections of Next.Data.Gov are powered by WordPress. The data catalog is powered by CKAN.

Building Next.Data.Gov Together: The Next.Data.gov interface launching today is an early peek at the future Data.gov experience. Because many of you depend on Data.gov for critical functions, Data.gov will be maintained in its current form and will remain fully accessible while the Data.gov team continues to iterate and improve upon Next.Data.Gov. Going forward, expect regular design and software updates.

Next.Data.Gov - mid-page screenshot

There is a ton of interesting data (the site notes 75,714 datasets) being ported into this site from across many key government agencies, including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, whose website is also powered by WordPress. Visitors can also get access to data on education, energy, finance, global development, health, research and safety. As the White House’s blog post notes:

The team studied the usage patterns on Data.gov and found that visitors were hungry for examples of how data are used. The team also noticed many sources, such as tweets and articles outside of Data.gov featuring Federal datasets in action. So Next.Data.gov includes a rich stream that enables each data community to communicate how its datasets are impacting companies and the public.

Similar to NASA’s Data.NASA.gov project, WordPress is instrumental in bringing data closer to the public, and making it useful and beautiful, too.

Want more information about WordPress for government or enterprise sites? Contact WordPress.com VIP Services.

WordPress in Government Workshop

wp-in-government

A few weeks ago in Washington, DC, WordPress.com VIP hosted a half-day workshop focusing on WordPress in Government, which was co-sponsored by our friends at GovLoop.com. The workshop was a huge success and I wanted to take just a few moments to share with you some highlights from the day’s events.

First off, why government? WordPress powers close to 19% of the top 10 million websites on the planet and we’re seeing major growth in all areas. The government sector, from federal to the state level and all the way down to local cities and towns, is experiencing some major technology shifts which have led to big changes in the way average citizens relate to and get information from their government. It’s an exciting time to be a technologist or developer at any level of government and it’s leading to some really interesting opportunities for WordPress, as there’s real interest on the part of government to move towards open source software and the availability of responsive platforms that help deliver on-demand information and government services.

We wanted to showcase some of the innovation that’s happening with WordPress for the government sector, so we hosted a workshop at the District Architecture Center in Washington, DC. We gathered over 115 key technologists and decision makers who work inside and outside of the government to network and to hear some presentations about some innovative things happening with WordPress in government. The attendees represented a big cross-section of agencies and organizations and many discussions centered on what they’re currently doing with WordPress and how they plan to scale their platforms.

We had attendees from:

  • Department of State
  • Peace Corps
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Millennium/Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC)
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • US Navy
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Patent and Trademark Office
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Commerce
  • And more…
  • We’ve gotten some great feedback so far on the content of the event, and over the next few weeks we’ll be posting various presentations from the workshop here on VIP News so that you can learn more what’s happening with WordPress in government.

Here are some of the presentations from the event (we’ll be adding more as they become available):

You can read through some of the tweets and real-time reaction that was taking place through the event on Twitter (see below). #WPGov tweets can be found here, and thanks again to GovLoop.com for partnering with us on the event.

Here are some pictures from the workshop:

If you have any questions about WordPress inside your government agency, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Read more about WordPress in Government.

Dispatch From The White House Hackathon

White House - We The People Logo

This past week, our very own Mo Jangda, WordPress.com VIP Lead Developer, along with Carl Danley and Christopher Cochran from 10UP (WordPress.com VIP Featured Service Partners) participated in We the People‘s second White House Hackathon. They were chosen to attend with the goal of building a plugin that allows WordPress users to install a petition tool that connects directly, via API, to the White House’s We the People platform. For those who aren’t familiar, you can learn more about We the People from the White House’s website:

Carl at 10UP published a blog post detailing the events of the day. Below are some key excerpts (you can read the full blog post here):

The event is an open-ended civic hack day where developers of all stripes from across the United States are invited to create applications in languages like Python and JavaScript. The purpose of the event was to create resources for websites, smartphones and other platforms that build on We the People.

The entire experience was incredible. Located in the EEOB, we worked alongside employees from organizations like NASA, Google, and Github. Alongside these fellow developers, we spent June 1 hacking on the We the People API, building public, ready-to-launch applications, with the intention to make them available at the end of the day.

Christopher, Mo, and I built a WordPress plugin called WP the People, which enables WordPress publishers to embed petitions within their sites. The plugin offers three unique views:

  • Basic petition view shows the petition information, signatures, and a progress bar.
  • Geographical view shows who signed the petition based on their location within the United States.
  • Timeline view shows the petition’s progress, deadlines, and when it met signature milestones. Anyone who uses this view can choose between vertical or horizontal orientation.

We focused on making this plugin extensible, so other developers can build additional petition views.

Joining Christopher, Carl and Mo was Steve Grunwell from Buckeye Interactive who built his own WordPress plugin, We The People WordPress plugin, which is already live in the WordPress plugin directory. You can read more about Steve’s experience here.

As Carl notes in his post, this plugin isn’t live yet, but we’re working on it and will post an update as soon as it’s ready to use. Our team will continue to work closely with the White House as they extend their API’s so that millions of WordPress publishers will have the ability to leverage their readers to help petition the power brokers in Washington on important issues that matter to them. Thanks to Mo and the team from 10UP for their exceptional work on behalf of a more open, more powerful democracy and web. Here are some pictures from the White House (courtesy of Mo):

Macon Phillips, who is the White House Director of New Media at the White House posted this Vine video – it’s a cool little snapshot of the hackathon in progress.

Two Cities, Two Launches: #MadeInNYC & #WhereTheWorldChanges

There is no greater rivalry than #TeamNYC vs. #TeamSanFran. Both cities have launched high-profile initiatives to highlight their technology and startup communities and while they’ll continue to angle for prominence in this all-important race to the top, there is one thing that they share… Both of their websites, Where The World Changes and WeAreMadeInNY are built on one of our newest products, WordPress.com Enterprise. Check them out and while you’re at it, check out WordPress.com Enterprise and we’ll even hook you up with a 1-month free trial. You can find out more here:

Where The World Changes

Where The World Changes   San Francisco

WeAreMadeInNY

 The City of New York

NYC VIP Party – Thank You!

Hudson Hotel

To those of you who were able to join us last Thursday in NYC for the VIP Happy Hour, I wanted to extend a hearty thank you – we really enjoyed seeing so many of you there! We had about 120 attendees, ate some delicious chocolate fondue and enjoyed the beautiful courtyard space at the Hudson Hotel. We’re really looking forward to our next VIP Happy Hour – in London next February (more details on this soon…).

If you have ideas for future events that you’d like to see us host or sponsor (both social or professional welcome!), please get in touch. We really enjoy bringing everyone together and we’re looking forward to some awesome events in 2013.

WordPress Powers Politics

WordPress is the most powerful content management system in the world – today it powers just under 17% of the top one million websites in the world. Millions of people from across the globe turn to WordPress to build websites of all shapes and sizes and across all different categories.

Now that the political conventions are over and we have officially turned the corner towards the November election, WordPress.com VIP is proud to release this infographic which clearly shows that WordPress is now the backbone that powers websites from across the political spectrum.

Check it out!

This research project started when we began to notice that more and more political websites were being built on WordPress. We focused on a couple of key categories: state parties, U.S. House races, U.S. Senate races, and Gubernatorial races. We looked at all of the major-party candidates across these categories and manually checked to see what content management system was being used. We were excited by the results and thus, they became the impetus for this lovely infographic.

If you want to learn more about WordPress for your political website, or any other purpose, get in touch with the WordPress.com VIP team here.

Spread the Word

Copy the embed code below to share the infographic on your own site:

<a href="https://vip.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/wordpress-powers-politics/"><img title="WordPress Powers Politics -- compiled by WordPress.com VIP: Enterprise Hosting and Services for WordPress" src="https://vip.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/wordpress-com-vip-politics-infographic-final-1.png" alt="WordPress Powers Politics - Infographic" width="759" height="1896" /></a>

72 Hours, 30 Volunteers, 3 Nonprofits = Success!

A few months ago, Ab Emam at the Web Development Group in Washington, DC came to me with a great idea called CreateathonDC: they would select three DC-area nonprofits and, over the course of one weekend, would completely overhaul their web presences using WordPress as the backbone CMS.  I loved the concept and WordPress.com VIP was proud to sponsor the event.  The idea got a great response – more than 40 nonprofits applied.  Three were selected, and this past weekend, Ab’s team, along with 30 volunteers, hunkered down for a 72-hour design marathon.  The fruits of their labor and talents are simply awesome.  Below is the post that Web Development Group just put up recapping their work this past weekend. Be sure to check out the site makeovers – they are beautiful!

72 Hours, 30 Volunteers, 3 Nonprofits = Success!
September 10, 2012 By mMcCarty

CreateathonDC 2012 was a huge success! Our three teams worked late into the night finalizing the development aspects of the websites. The Web Development Group is excited to announce each of the nonprofits’ websites were successfully launched, much to the excitement of CreateathonDC volunteers, sponsors and the nonprofits themselves!

Starting Friday evening and chugging along through the early hours of Monday morning, WDG and Createathon’s volunteers dedicated both their superb talents and time to create and smoothly implement these WordPress-powered websites, from start (think initial client consultations and wireframes) to finish, successfully launching better web experiences for the three nonprofits.

If you missed the updates over the weekend, here’s a quick run down of how CreateathonDC  Weekend went!

The Web Development Group team spent this summer scouring applications for both volunteers and nonprofits. While considering the organizations who applied to be selected for a website makeover, we focused on their financial needs (based on 990), the state of their current site, as well as the opportunities the new WordPress-powered web experience would give the nonprofits in their efforts to further spread their message and engage the community. With nearly 40 organizations applying, the competition was tough.  The chosen organizations for this year’s CreateathonDC event were: Borromeo HousingDC Diaper Bank, and Phoenix Bikes.

On the volunteers side, we had over 70 volunteers who applied to be a part of this spectacular inaugural event.  The 30 individuals chosen came from a wide spectrum of talents and backgrounds within the DC-Metro creative community. The volunteers were broken down into three teams of 10 people strong and were led by WDG’s own senior developers.  The teams quickly identified the strengths of each member and distributed tasks appropriately to successfully strategize, design, develop, and launch three amazingly user-friendly responsive websites within 72 hours.

With dedicated time, talents and effort, we were able to give Phoenix Bikes, DC Diaper Bank, and Borromeo Housing a complete web experience makeover, including services like, consultation, web and graphic design, development, content management, social media strategy, and WordPress content management training!

Check out some of the before and after shots of the sites!

PHOENIX BIKES:

Visit the new site here

The new site incorporates the colors of the logo better, is much less text heavy, and is much more user-friendly. When WDG first started looking at Phoenix Bikes’ site, many of the links were broken, the calendar did not work well, and the whole site was rarely updated. Now that it is on WordPress, updating will be much easier, there is a Facebook feed which will keep it dynamic and changing, and the site itself is also responsive!

BORROMEO HOUSING:

Visit the new site here

Borromeo Housing really wanted to help spread their message to the general population while also adding color, and video to their site. Our designers and developers worked with the nonprofit representatives and even offered them 15 custom-edited videos that can be used for future posts. The slideshow on the homepage helps push out their message, and the donate button is much more prominent. The navigation on the site is much more intuitive .

DC DIAPER BANK:

Visit the new site here

DC Diaper Bank wanted a site that was fun, creative, and also kept the user on the pages longer. This is something The Web Development Group knew they could capitalize on. The awesome design team added infographics, images, and saturated colors. The site gets the message out without being too “baby-focused”, something the nonprofit wanted. This site is also responsive. The organization also received a toolkit (custom-designed hand-out that promotes the organization and can be edited for different functions) and Facebook/Twitter branding!

This event was a huge success and will most definitely become and annual event. We are eager to continue to give back to the local community again in the future. As Darlene Bakke from Borromeo Housing said, “The website is amazing and I know this transformation will make a huge impact on BHI messaging.”