Cloud

Supporting the fight against COVID-19 through information

Thomas Bailey
Mar 19, 2020
Supporting the fight against COVID-19 through information

The COVID-19 virus is having a huge impact on all our lives in different ways - it has changed our societies, put our health systems under immense pressure, impacted global economies and continues to inflict personal suffering on millions.

We have been looking for ways we could contribute as a technology company - to create something that could meaningfully support the efforts being made to curtail the spread and effects of the COVID-19 virus.

A Swiss Canton, a local government region in Switzerland, needed help to build a tool that could collect frequent status updates from frontline responders - primarily the police, hospitals, testing centers and other emergency services. The information would be centralised and made available to help visualise the current status and availability of its resources.

The Canton’s officials contacted our partner, what. , with the request to design, develop and launch this functionality within a week. Together with what. we have been lending our help to develop and deploy the tool - CoReport.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

14.00 - The team at what. contacted us at with a brief about the project and the initial request to sponsor it using the Divio platform to manage and run custom infrastructure. Of course, we were glad to be asked.

We set about preparing and configuring a new region in Switzerland with all the necessary managed services. The setup itself took just 10 minutes.

17.00 -  The team that what. had quickly brought together consisted of a UX designer, a frontend and a backend developer. With the huge pressure on a small team, we offered to help with development.

The team were rapidly producing wireframes and translating into static HTML which needed to be integrated and served through the backend application. Django was the obvious first choice given the familiarity and that lends itself especially well to rapid development with lots of out-of-the box features.

We joined the backend team and went to work.

Naturally the project was founded as open-source with the intention that other countries and regions could take the code and use it to potentially build versions specific to their needs.

Monday, March 16, 2020

09.00 - After a sunday evening of developing, we had a working prototype that we could share with the team using a test instance of the custom cloud configuration.

This was a nice validation of our direction where the UX designer, having never used Divio and not being a developer, was able to use our tools to get setup in minutes and quickly verify the designs were implemented and behaving as expected.

18.00 - We divided the work by using tickets in GitLab, with each member of the team picking tickets, working on them and closing as they went.

We used Slack to stay in communication, GitLab to manage work items and Divio to develop and release features as they were completed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

09.00 - With the features complete, the prototype moved to an initial version and we started extensive testing.

18.00 - The project had drawn interest from other municipalities in Switzerland who also had the same needs.

We used the mirroring functionality of Divio to be able to have one code base serving multiple projects. Each municipality could potentially then make their own customisations whilst the functionality and features were being added.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

09.00 - We launched the project to the production environment and ran through user-scenarios in preparation for delivery.

Documentation was vital to be able to potentially help others onboard and get familiar with the project so that it could be used in other countries and regions. We turned our attention to documenting the essentials so that other developers could start building off the project.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

09.00 - The Canton’s officials were presented with their first look at the ready-to-go project and after trying it, gave the team a resounding "I love it!".

22.00 - With the project delivered and ready to take on other municipalities, we started work on more formal documentation in the form of a user guide and tutorial.

Friday, March 20, 2020

13.00 - Together with what., we formally opened the Gitlab repository, making all the code open-source and available under a flexible MIT license.

Getting your own CoReport

If you are a local government, then Divio will gladly sponsor and support you with a fully hosted and managed CoReport instance that you can start using immediately. We can provide you with a dedicated region depending on your local needs. You can reach us at letstalk@divio.com

If you would like to take the project and run it on your existing infrastructure or start developing it locally, then you can find instructions on how to get setup in the project documentation.

You can find the source code and setup instruction in the public GitLab repository:

https://gitlab.com/what-digital/covid19-report

The current documentation is available at:

https://divio-covid-report.readthedocs-hosted.com/en/latest/


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