Tech Talk

A guide to some of the terms and concepts in redeveloping the city website

Open Source: Software programming whose source code is publicly available so developers can tweak, overhaul, or supplement a program to their liking. Examples of open-source software include the Internet address system Internet Protocol and the Firefox Web browser. Open source is beginning to encompass broader issues, such as Creative Commons' copyright alternative encouraging collaboration, sharing, and repurposing.

Crowdsourcing: Taking a projech usually allotted to a single entity and instead enlisting the aid of a large group to get the task done – using Internet connectivity to share work and ensure that the tasks being performed aren't redundant. According to Wikipedia, Wikipedia itself "is often cited as a suc­cessful example of crowdsourcing," over the objections of co-founder Jimmy Wales, who worries it sounds like tricking people "into doing work for free."

Front End and Back End: As it relates to website design, the front end is the portion of a website visible and accessible to the public, while the back end is the portion that powers the requests made on the front end. The back end is visible only to website administrators.

Content Management System: The software that publishes the material – text, video, etc. – on a Web page and allows for the manipulation of the material (how long it stays up, where it appears, and so forth). The city intranet (an in-house website available only to city employees) is currently powered by Plone, an open-source content-management system, but city officials say it doesn't provide the functionality they'd like to see on the city's public website.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More city website
Grading the City's New Website: Incomplete
Grading the City's New Website: Incomplete
The city launches its new website, trailing bells, whistles, and bugs

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 10, 2012

More by Wells Dunbar
Top 10 City Council Stories
Top 10 City Council Stories
Dais and months

Jan. 6, 2012

City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
To the beating hearts of a great city

Dec. 30, 2011


city website, open source, crowdsourcing

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle