Version 0.3 Released

Just one week after the release of version 0.2 of The State Decoded comes version 0.3. (You can download it as a 308 KB tarball.) It consists of 23 general enhancements, notably including:

  • The parser that imports legal codes and populates the site has been simplified to be both non-working and a significantly more useful template to be followed to create new state import systems. Previously it was fully functional for importing the Code of Virginia, which was too much detail to serve as a guide.
  • Improved support for and optimization of custom, state-specific functions.
  • Unnecessary chunks of the function library removed, with remaining useful portions of them integrated into other functions.
  • Beginnings of support for APC for variable storage, starting with moving constants into APC.
  • A hook for and sample functionality to turn each law’s history section into a plain-English description of that history, along with links to see the acts of the legislature that made those changes.
  • 404 functionality added for proper error handling of requests for non-existent section numbers and structural units.
  • Added arrow-key based navigation to move to prior and next sections within a single structural container.
  • Provided a sample .htaccess file for supporting a decent URL structure.
  • Moved JavaScript assets out of the general template and into the specific template to eliminate unnecessary code.

As with the prior two releases, this is an alpha release—there’s no installer, documentation, or administrative backend. With this release the gap between the released packages and the version of the software powering Virginia Decoded and Sunshine Statutes (Florida) is smaller than ever, and I’m hopeful that I can port those sites over to run on v0.3 of The State Decoded.

With this release, the project is back on the monthly release schedule that was started in June. A roadmap is emerging for the next few releases. Version 0.4 will be dedicated almost entirely to enhancements to the dictionary system that makes laws self-documenting, and that’s due out on September 1. Version 0.5 will be another general-enhancements release, due out on October 1. Version 0.6 will be the Solr release—the version in which the popular search software becomes integrated deeply into the project, due out on November 1. (Solr functionality, by the way, is made possible by a generous contribution from Open Source Connections, specifically David Dodge, Joseph Featherston, and Kasey McKenna, who recently spent a great deal of time setting up Solr to support The State Decoded.) And version 0.7 will be the API release, where the nascent API gets built out to full functionality and documented properly, and that’s due out on December 1.