Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Limiting votes_download by date and/or amount

Expand Messages
  • Justin Palmer
    Hi, I m in the process of working on an iPhone application using a combination of data from Govtrack, Sunlight, OpenSecrets, etc. The iPhone presents a
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 7, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi,

      I'm in the process of working on an iPhone application using a combination of data from
      Govtrack, Sunlight, OpenSecrets, etc. The iPhone presents a interesting set of challenges, the
      primary one being limiting the number and size of requests being made, It drains the battery
      and hampers the user experience (waiting for information to download).

      A common pattern I'm noticing across the API's and data sets is there seems to be no way to
      limit how many results you get back and to a lesser extent, page the results. It would be
      great if I could specify a month along with a year when requesting votes for a candidate
      (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes.xpd?month=07&year=2008&person=300090) and
      votes.

      Apologies if this is possible already and I've overlooked it.

      P.S. Thanks for the time and effort you've put into Govtrack. It's invaluable.

      -Justin
    • Josh Tauberer
      That sounds neat. Would love to hear more about the app. My personal stance on APIs is that, as far as GovTrack goes, since I provide the raw data, I don t
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 7, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        That sounds neat. Would love to hear more about the app.

        My personal stance on APIs is that, as far as GovTrack goes, since I
        provide the raw data, I don't want to spend too much time trying to make
        a comprehensive API as well.

        Or, well, let's say, I'd be happy to accept code contributions to extend
        the API, but otherwise it probably won't make it high enough on the
        priority list to get done soon.

        Josh

        Justin Palmer wrote:
        > Hi,
        >
        > I'm in the process of working on an iPhone application using a combination of data from
        > Govtrack, Sunlight, OpenSecrets, etc. The iPhone presents a interesting set of challenges, the
        > primary one being limiting the number and size of requests being made, It drains the battery
        > and hampers the user experience (waiting for information to download).
        >
        > A common pattern I'm noticing across the API's and data sets is there seems to be no way to
        > limit how many results you get back and to a lesser extent, page the results. It would be
        > great if I could specify a month along with a year when requesting votes for a candidate
        > (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes.xpd?month=07&year=2008&person=300090) and
        > votes.
        >
        > Apologies if this is possible already and I've overlooked it.
        >
        > P.S. Thanks for the time and effort you've put into Govtrack. It's invaluable.
      • Justin Palmer
        Unfortunately, I ve never written a line of python. A little about the application -- The idea is that most of us (If I can generalize for a moment) don t pay
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 7, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Unfortunately, I've never written a line of python.

          A little about the application -- The idea is that most of us (If I can generalize for a
          moment) don't pay close enough attention to our government and issues that matter to
          us. We collect information in passing from various blogs and sites such as Govtrack in bits
          when we "have free time". I'd like to make it easy for myself and others to unobtrusively
          monitor legislators, issues, and bills that are important to us. I'd also like the ability to do
          this when I'm standing in line at the grocery store, waiting on the bus, etc. I believe that
          somehow, if we can fit all of that information in someone's pocket, "having time" is no
          longer an issue.

          With a few clicks, I can see how a Senator voted on a specific piece of legislation. What If I
          disagree with the Senators position? One more click and I can instantly call their office or
          send them an email.

          You could also combine the basics with information from OpenSecrets to find out where
          the money is coming from, or Eventful to find out if there are any events in your area for a
          particular legislator.

          I'm about 1/4 of the way through implementation, and running into some hurdles that I've
          yet to determine how I'm going to proceed. For instance, when looking at the voting
          record of a candidate "HR 1234" doesn't mean much unless you already know what this
          relates too. In order for me to fetch the related bill (and the more descriptive title) I'd have
          to:

          * Request the votes for a candidate
          * Request the roll for a vote (to obtain bill id)
          * Request the bill and extract the title

          I have to run through that list once for each vote and given the inability to limit votes, this
          ends up being a very costly operation (both processing and $ if you're not on an unlimited
          data plan). Fun stuff, but it's coming along nicely so far! :-)

          Here are a few preliminary screens:
          http://s3.amazonaws.com/caged/legislate/legislators.png
          http://s3.amazonaws.com/caged/legislate/democrat.png
          http://s3.amazonaws.com/caged/legislate/republican.png

          -Justin

          --- In govtrack@yahoogroups.com, Josh Tauberer <tauberer@...> wrote:
          >
          > That sounds neat. Would love to hear more about the app.
          >
          > My personal stance on APIs is that, as far as GovTrack goes, since I
          > provide the raw data, I don't want to spend too much time trying to make
          > a comprehensive API as well.
          >
          > Or, well, let's say, I'd be happy to accept code contributions to extend
          > the API, but otherwise it probably won't make it high enough on the
          > priority list to get done soon.
          >
          > Josh
          >
          > Justin Palmer wrote:
          > > Hi,
          > >
          > > I'm in the process of working on an iPhone application using a combination of data
          from
          > > Govtrack, Sunlight, OpenSecrets, etc. The iPhone presents a interesting set of
          challenges, the
          > > primary one being limiting the number and size of requests being made, It drains the
          battery
          > > and hampers the user experience (waiting for information to download).
          > >
          > > A common pattern I'm noticing across the API's and data sets is there seems to be no
          way to
          > > limit how many results you get back and to a lesser extent, page the results. It would
          be
          > > great if I could specify a month along with a year when requesting votes for a
          candidate
          > > (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes.xpd?
          month=07&year=2008&person=300090) and
          > > votes.
          > >
          > > Apologies if this is possible already and I've overlooked it.
          > >
          > > P.S. Thanks for the time and effort you've put into Govtrack. It's invaluable.
          >
        • Josh Tauberer
          ... That s quite all right since the site doesn t use Python. :) (For the APIs, it s XSLT and C#.) ... Nice! ... Communication with Congress is tricky
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 7, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            Justin Palmer wrote:
            > Unfortunately, I've never written a line of python.

            That's quite all right since the site doesn't use Python. :)

            (For the APIs, it's XSLT and C#.)

            > somehow, if we can fit all of that information in someone's pocket, "having time" is no
            > longer an issue.

            Nice!

            > With a few clicks, I can see how a Senator voted on a specific piece of legislation. What If I
            > disagree with the Senators position? One more click and I can instantly call their office or
            > send them an email.

            Communication with Congress is tricky business. The easier you make it
            for a constituent to communicate, the less seriously it is taken.

            > * Request the votes for a candidate
            > * Request the roll for a vote (to obtain bill id)
            > * Request the bill and extract the title
            >
            > I have to run through that list once for each vote and given the inability to limit votes, this
            > ends up being a very costly operation (both processing and $ if you're not on an unlimited
            > data plan). Fun stuff, but it's coming along nicely so far! :-)

            In this case, what you should try to do is create a server side to this
            so that the data is prepared in a format on the server that is most
            suitable to be loaded by the iPhone. This might involve downloading my
            raw dataset so you can access the whole thing in one shot, rather than
            making a number of API calls (which are somewhat costly on my end) per page.

            > Here are a few preliminary screens:
            > http://s3.amazonaws.com/caged/legislate/legislators.png
            > http://s3.amazonaws.com/caged/legislate/democrat.png
            > http://s3.amazonaws.com/caged/legislate/republican.png

            Looking good.

            --
            - Josh Tauberer
            - GovTrack.us

            http://razor.occams.info

            "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
            falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
            Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.