“I’ve long been an advocate of putting our full budget, all our legislation, a number of things about state government online in an easy to download, easy to access fashion,” the governor said.
Really? I mean, if that’s true, that’s great, but it’s news to me. If there has been any advance in the provision of information online from the executive branch during McDonnell’s tenure, I have not noticed it. I don’t recall him introducing any bill on the topic during his years in the legislature, and a quick scan through his legislation doesn’t anything. Maybe by “advocate” he just means “supporter in spirit.”
Virginia puts a lot of this sort of information online, but it’s a mess. It’s found on dozens of websites, in a half dozen different formats, all different, none compatible, often near invisible to search engines, without an API in sight. The UI is always a train wreck. It’s bad enough that the sites look lousy, but they almost never provide any method for third parties to pull the data out and display it in a more meaningful fashion. I’ve been spending my nights and weekends on this for the past six months and, I’ll tell you, this kind of thing is frustrating as hell.