Week 13

At the start of the week, I went along to ElasticSearch training with some of my colleagues at GDS. We use ElasticSearch for our search engine on GOV.UK, and the sessions helped us get a better understanding of how it works internally, and avoiding the numerous gotchas you can fall into along the way. On Thursday, we kicked off a new project for search - and over the next seven weeks we’ll be rolling out a stream of improvements to make search easier to use, and to make it return better results. Stay tuned on that one.

I built a prototype this week of a smart answer represented entirely in JSON. Right now, our smart answers are a collection of YAML strings and a Ruby DSL, and it ties us completely to defining the flow inside the codebase. By representing a smart answer in JSON, not only can we then serve it from a Publisher-backed API, but we can also do things like, where supported, implementing it completely in the user’s browser to make smart answers faster.

I’ve been investigating some strange browser bugs which have been reported around the Legalisation payment process. I suspect it’s an IE6 issue, but work will continue on this next week.

And finally, on Thursday evening I went along to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office with my team for a guided tour around the building.