Open States Infrastructure¶
Open States has grown to be a rather complex project over the years. The purpose of this documentation is to help explain how Open States works end-to-end to better help contributors and project members grasp the entirety of the system.
A great deal of Open States’ infrastructure falls within the billy project. Here’s roughly how it works:
- A scraper is written that utilizes
billy.scrape’s Python helpers.
- When invoked via
billy-update, this scraper writes JSON files to disk.
- These JSON files are then imported by
- A denormalization step takes place allowing us to have aggregate info,
At this point the data has been scraped, validated, post-processed, imported, and we’ve generated some statistics like how many bills were updated, etc.
From here, the data is served out via a Django project.
billy also helps with this, in the form of three applications:
- Essentially the site you see when you browse OpenStates.org.
- Open States API v1
This is a custom-built admin, truthfully just a series of views that project maintainers have found useful over time. There are some tools for manual data entry/reconciliation as well as error reporting.
Note: Now that the project is more community-driven and doesn’t have a full-time staff, this approach is somewhat outdated and we’ll be looking to improve access so that non-staff can help with some of the tasks included in the admin.