Weeks 60 and 61

I’m surprised it took me more than a year before I missed out on writing notes for a week. For what it’s worth, last Friday I was sat writing Week 60 in a landside Costa at Gatwick Airport, but one thing led to another and I never quite finished it. Alas, here’s a bumper edition of week notes.

With the bank holiday weekend, last week flew by. I changed our public API service to route search requests directly through to Rummager, our backend search service. This means that, for the first time, we can expose the endpoints for ‘tabbed’ search and 'unified’ search to other services that don’t live inside our platform.

Once this was done, I modified our search health-check scripts to start fetching data from these endpoints, so we can now measure how well the new 'unified’ search performs. This will help us improve the new results, to a point where we can be confident it’s as good as (or better) than the existing search.

I spent the first half of this week on holiday. With friends, I visited Europa-Park in southern Germany for a few days. We also drove up to Tripsdrill and Holiday Park.

Later in the week, I visited Tallinn in Estonia. I went along to the Nordic Digital Agendas Day event and visited RIA, the authority responsible for Estonia’s information system. I learned quite a bit about the eesti.ee website, and X-Road, the layer that allows data to be exchanged between Estonian authorities.

Whilst waiting in assorted airport transit lounges this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we share and document things internally at GDS, and trying to work out what quick wins we can do to make it better.

Finally, I also got the first iteration of the new website design shipped for the Europe Code Week website this week.