GovLoop Member of the Week: Sam Allgood, Lead Open eGOV Developer

What is Open eGov?
– a framework for a city government’s website
– provides context-sensitive portlets of information; e.g., each department controls what is in its portlets based on its currently published content, but the portlet placement and names are consistent throughout the site
– provides multiple ways to find content, both at the department level and for the whole site (* = whole site only):
+ standard search *
+ resources
+ services
+ A-Z directory *
+ spotlights
+ promotions
– provides pages that allow showing external sites within city’s design
– provides capability for department users to manage their own content, to include staging content with work states and effective/expiration dates

What was the motivation behind this project?
– get departments engaged in maintaining their own web content
– reduce website maintenance costs by using open source software
– get city’s developers engaged in open source community
– to promote collaboration between cities on projects of common interest

How was it developed?
– participate in research and selection process for determining appropriate open source programming language with sufficient developer community
– selected Zope / Plone, a Python-based framework for building websites
– bring in trainer to train developers on Python
– bring in trainer to train developers on Plone and get them started on developing an application
– send key developers to advanced training on Plone
– work with department representatives to establish standards for website and desired functionality
– developers worked on various parts of program modules, working individually and collectively to build an integrated package
– contracted with Plone development company to code one complex module

How long did it take to go from concept to completion?
– 3 years from Python training to new site going live with converted and new content (also working on other projects)

How is eGov used?
– as a content management system / web presence for city governments

Has it been successful?
– used by Newport News for internet and intranet
– recipient of the 2008 Robert Havlick Award for Innovation in Government Award (
– recipient of the 2008 Digital Government Achievement Award in the Government-to-Government category (
– used by other cities / counties for internet or intranet; one instance hosted by Newport News

Any future plans for Open eGov?
– modify to work with new major upgrade to Plone
– enhance to improve

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply