The beta of GOV.UK

It’s been about ten days and it feels a lot longer, but recently we unveiled a rather important beta: GOV.UK. That beta is a “live operational test” of a new single-domain for government. It’s a radically simplified way for people needing UK government information and services, built in-house with a set of publishing tools that lay the groundwork for a broader platform.

This beta came out of the work a team of us did to build, itself a deeply unusual creation for a government website: built by an in house team, ruthless in scope and relentless in user focus, and above all a prototype designed to trigger conversations. The alpha worked: it triggered good, constructive conversations, it helped us identify things that worked and others that didn’t. It paved the way for the creation of the Government Digital Service and to the beta of GOV.UK.

Around the release I’ve been writing quite a bit on the GovUK blog: an explanation of our hosting choices (AWS/EC2), there’s a colophon to list our key tools, a high level overview of how we’re using puppet and provisioning servers, a status update on the APIs we’re building. I also did a little interview for, answered a few questions for O’Reilly Radar and found myself on stage (at the end of the day, having only had 3 hours’ sleep) at monkigras.

Which is really all to say that there’s not a huge amount more to say here other than to signpost all that content and to say “watch this space” cause we’re far from done!

Oh, and we’re hiring (not just ruby devs)

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