22 Feb 2010 07:05 am

[Work in progress:]

What I write below is meant both as a model for a project proposal but also an outline of the project we will build out together in class.  Remember that student project proposals are due on March 10.

Keep in mind the requirements of the proposal

* What problem is your project aimed at solving? Alternatively, why would someone want to use what you are making in your project?
* Is your project doable given the constraints of time, our starting knowledge, etc?

Please be as specific as you can in the following areas:

  • What interface are you imagining? Is it a web, desktop, or mobile application? What platform are you running? Often a rough sketch of the interface can help clarify a lot of issues
  • What data or services are planning to bring together? Be specific.
  • What’s your plan for getting the data. Often the data you might want might not be easily available.
  • Do the APIs you plan to use actually support the functionality that you need in your application? Show how it does so.
  • What programming language do you plan to use?

Provide an action plan:

  • Break down the project into steps. You can end up changing the steps later, but I want to make sure you have a clear conception on what the steps are.
  • Highlight what you are currently working on.
  • Identify areas of “high risk,” areas that you are uncertain about and/or things that might undermine the entire project. Write about how you are planning to deal with these potential problem areas.
  • If you are unclear about what you might want to do, I’d suggest starting with Flickr-centric ideas if you don’t have any other ideas in mind.

Problem statement

Even though the Recovery Act (ARRA)  is accompanied by an unprecedented amount of transparency, it is still difficult to make a full public accounting  of the origin and destination of ARRA funds.  This project aims to publicly reproduce as much of ARRA accounting as possible, highlighting where such accounting is particularly difficult.

To do: I have to outline an interface, lay out an action plan, and talk about major risks.

Interface:  I imagine creating a website with an API to represent the data in ARRA.   Although there might ultimately be community-oriented features, the first priority is a solid read-only site that portrays the data of ARRA accurately and functionally.  I  put a high premium on transparency, fine-grained access, machine parseability, good addressability.


Key points to consider in the writing of this proposal:

  • the project flow must serve the pedagogical ends of the course as well as long-term ends
  • though I will want end-to-end accountability, we are unlikely to run out of things to do by the end of the course.  Hence, this plan should distinguish between what is core with what would be nice-to-do.
  • it’s important that this project will be useful to folks beyond this class — though it has to be useful to us first of all.
  • where should we host this project so that we can all work on it while maintaining something for some longer term.  (I’ve set aside arradata.appspot.com and have the govdb.info domain — thinking of govedb.info or arradata.info

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