This post has been written by Wendy Thomas, IATI Technical Lead based at Development Initiatives.
Welcome to the IATI Technical Team’s quarterly update. Every quarter, we update our community on the progress made on IATI tech and share our plans for the next quarter. The Technical Team’s quarterly plans are reviewed by IATI’s Governing Board technical focal points. You can read the last quarter's update and the IATI Workplan 2020.
Website - iatistandard.org
The Technical Team completed a major piece of work on this year’s workplan by moving all the content of the old IATI reference site onto iatistandard.org. Throughout this project, the Technical Team worked closely with IATI’s community to address issues on managing and version-controlling the Standard documentation.
This work involved migrating hundreds of pages of content and included:
- New information architecture: many pages live in a different place
- Updated content: we’ve used this as an opportunity to update some outdated content
- Using content from GitHub for the website: we’ve implemented backend systems in place to pull content from GitHub through to iatistandard.org
- New software: the process for pulling the Standard reference content onto the website needed to be changed as it’s different from the old IATI reference site.
These changes will make it much easier for publishers and users to access content about the IATI Standard, as all information is now in one place.
Datastore and Validator
The Technical Team made significant progress in implementing changes to the new IATI Validator and Datastore. For the Validator, we worked with the supplier to complete the last requirements, adding bulk and URL uploads for multiple files and email notifications. We also fixed remaining bugs found during testing and moved the Validator to IATI’s GitHub repository. We have now brought the product in house, removing parts that are duplicated elsewhere in the IATI software system, and the Technical Team has made adjustments to improve the speed at which the Validator works and make future development work simpler.
For the Datastore, we finalised its integration with the IATI Validator and tested redirects of queries from the old Datastore to the new Datastore. The Technical Team also worked closely with the supplier to progress the last remaining requirement of implementing the Datastore sector/recipient country explosion for all filters. You can read more about our plans for launch here.
IATI’s Technical Stocktake was a priority this quarter. Led by an external consultant, Dan Hughes of Wittij Consulting, this work involved:
- Conducting desk research: reviewing IATI’s Strategic Plan, reports from the 2018 Technical Audit and 20 mission and technical background documents;
- Interviewing 40 IATI stakeholders across publisher, data user and developer communities;
- Developing detailed diagrams for each of the 6 core systems: including the Registry, iatistandard.org, the new Datastore, new Validator, Publishing Statistics/Dashboard and d-portal). Each diagram illustrated the systems’ ‘as is’ architectures;
- Analysing findings and drafting future state views for discussion;
- Presenting the draft proposals to community participants: leading three facilitated workshops, consolidating feedback and producing a recommended and updated proposed design.
The Technical Team revised the IATI COVID-19 publishing guidance following a wide consultation with the community. We held a webinar on 27 April to showcase the updated guidance and to present new data access guidance for COVID-19 data (co-produced with UNDP). In June, the Technical Team reached out to all IATI members individually, to review their COVID-19 data and to flag data quality issues. On 30 June, we held another webinar to discuss the progress made on publishing COVID-19 data, consult with the community on areas for improvements and to highlight how better quality data will help data use.
This quarter, Business and Data Analysts also supported 50 new organisations to start publishing to IATI, and responded to 499 support tickets with a 95% satisfaction rating.
Publisher guidance and support
In addition to the work on the COVID-19 guidance, the Technical Team’s Business and Data Analysts finalised guidance on publishing and interpreting data on the results and conditions using the IATI Standard. Both guidance documents were written in consultation with IATI’s community and have been posted on Discuss for a final check with them. This quarter, Business and Data Analysts also supported 50 new organisations to start publishing to IATI, and responded to 499 support tickets with a 95% satisfaction rating.
Our work for Quarter 3
The main priorities for the Technical Team in Quarter 3 include the following:
Datastore and Validator
Over the next quarter our main priorities remain the Datastore and the Validator. We are working with the supplier to ensure the remaining requirement of implementing the Datastore sector/recipient country explosion for all filters is completed.
Within the lifecycle of version 1 of the Validator we will stabilise the integration between the two products, remove more of the legacy code that is not required for IATI and we will investigate how it might be possible to validate at finer granularity.
The IATI Secretariat will implement a communications launch of the new Datastore and Validator and we will then proactively engage publishers and data users through webinars and emailing target users directly.
Technical Stocktake: next steps
The Technical Team, along with Stocktake consultant Dan Hughes, presented the Stocktake recommendations to the IATI Governing Board in July. I look forward to sharing key recommendations from the Stocktake that were approved by the Board in a newspost shortly.
The Technical Team has started to map out a draft process for managing IATI Standard guidance going forward; this will shortly be shared with the community for input. We also plan to launch the next round of publishing guidance consultations focusing on humanitarian data. We welcome all humanitarian actors, publishers and data users to get involved. Dates for the consultation will be shared on our website and you can also email [email protected] if you want to be notified.