How it started
On the 13th March, we published a Linkedin post looking for ways we could help the community, by offering pro-bono work to develop a solution that would help fight the spread of COVID-19. We are in a unique position to be able to help, thanks to our distributed team structure and ability to deliver web and mobile apps fast, as well as our ability to help conceive, design, develop and grow them. The response to the post was unprecedented, within a couple of days more than 30’000 users viewed our post. We were asked to design and develop a tool Government Institutions can use to collect reliable information from hospitals, doctors and non-medical parts of the Government on the status of COVID-19, such as how many hospital beds with respirators are available. This is vital information for decision makers that decide how to allocate resources in the fight against the pandemic.
Time and urgency were of the essence. We knew that for each day we were delayed, an opportunity to make our contribution to such an important cause would be lost. The next challenge was ensuring the tool was open to a broader application – a problem we overcame by scalable application architecture, documentation and going open source with the code base.
In only one week after our offer to help on Linkedin, we were able to release the first version of CoReport, a now free, open-source tool that provides government institutions and other organisations with an accurate overview of key information related to managing a crisis, for improved data reporting and decision making. CoReport, due to its flexibility for gathering required information from decision-makers, can also be used outside of the COID-19 use case.
Because of its flexibility and the speed with which we are able to build applications with it, we choose django as the base of our solution. To be able to be even faster we decided to forego our usual approach and also render the frontend directly out of django. Not implementing the frontend in React was a tough choice as it reduced future flexibility and an improved user experience, but it reduced complexity allowing for this release within a week.
CoReport is under active development and now that there is some more breathing room we have started to continuously improve the user experience based on the feedback we are gathering from cantons running the solution.
The development was initiated by what. in collaboration with Divio. It is currently being deployed by the Swiss canton of Baselland on hosting sponsored by Divio. CoReport is provided as a ready-to-run Dockerised web application. We expect other cantons, government agencies in Switzerland and abroad to adopt this solution.
1 week to go from concept to launch in the first canton
Going open source - the codebase is available for download and further contributions
New organisations and agencies - our solution was recommended to all Swiss cantons and we’re looking forward to a wider adoption