Australian state gov't readies open-source project

In what is believed to be the largest open source project ever developed in Australia, Victoria's Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) has spent the past two years and A$1.2 million (US$755 million) on a new content portal which will go live early next year.

The Zope Amendment Production Platform, or ZAPP, is a repository for every planning scheme in the state, according to the project's manager Sharon Tyrer. ZAPP houses all documents relating to town planning schemes, and the legislative process that amendments, such as district re-zoning, go through.

"We didn't have any systems for ZAPP [but] literally a manual system where we updated Word documents and burnt them to CD," Tyrer said.

Presently, Lotus Notes is the DSE's preferred program for smaller applications and the management tracking system.

"We did have Quickplace-based system called EDe but it didn't store planning schemes and had limitations on number of users so the system fell down. People stopped using it and went back to sending files through the post."

As its name indicates, ZAPP is built on the Zope open source application server, which is developed with the Python programming language.