Australia, New-Zealand, Vietnam and the European Commission will jointly enhance the software for their platforms on sharing and re-using interoperability solutions. New features for the content management system and for the tools used for hosting software solutions will be shared and the four will also exchange information and documentation, to help other countries that want to join.
In Australia and New-Zealand, the Open Technology Foundation (OTF) is supporting the government sector in the research, evaluation, trialling and uptake of open technologies, standards and methods. OTF has been piloting its own collaboration platform, Openray, since June 2012. This is based on an earlier version of the software used for the European Commission's Joinup. An upgrade of the code is underway before a formal launch later this year.
Vietnam is piloting an implementation as well, assisted by OTF. Vietnam's platform, Openroad, will extend the platform's functionalities with for example document management tools and integration with the government's email system.
The teams behind Openroad, Openray and Joinup this week decided to make sure they are running the same base platforms. Szabolcs Szekacs, one of the EC project officers involved in Joinup, explains this this will make it easier to share, re-use and federate solutions. The engineers will also exchange installations notes and make prepare these for use by others. "That will smooth the way for other nations and regions to re-use the platform."
Working together saves resources but it also opens the inventory of government applications and interoperability assets to a wider group of potential users, Szekacs says. "Sharing solutions and contributing code and building on each other's ideas will advance e-government."
Stephen Schmid, general manager of OTF, believes a federation of regional platforms is fundamental to a global agenda for sharing and reuse of interoperability solutions for public administrations. "Content is key to attract public servants to the platforms in their region. It must have instant value or users will not join in the sharing agenda. So there is value in federating these platforms, with globally shareable assets, software, news and information."
Schmid says there is considerable opportunity for the public sectors in Australia and New Zealand to increase effective sharing and re-use. "The level reached by the EC is inspirational and being part of a global programme goes a long way to making a convincing argument."
The Vietnamese are looking forward to start exchanging code and ideas, says Nghĩa Lê Trung, a director of a division promoting IT adoptions for Vietnam's ministry of Science and Technology, and involved with setting up Openroad. "We hope to increase the already huge Joinup repository and help tailor that platform's code. 'Standing on the shoulders of giants', that is our approach to adapting government applications and interoperability. The goal is to create an open, sharing and collaborative platform."
Joinup currently hosts 320 open source projects. It provides an easy way to find solutions available on 10 other software forges in the EU, which together host 4068 software applications. Similarly federated, Joinup's visitors can explore 1812 semantic assets such as domain models, ontologies and code lists, available on 20 government websites.
Openray and Openroad are both still building up their content. The platforms will both officially launch in 2013.