Big Brother Niterói and divless sites in 2018
So, after sometime watching some videos, reading a lot and almost doing nothing (😕), I had this urge to do something. But what? All that come to my mind was to remake some sites to practice, but although I have some ideas, I don’t feel like it right now.
The politics scenario here in Brazil are a mess nowadays. And there are some great initiatives arising, like Operação Serenata de Amor (they’re awesome, they use AI to monitor how the government spend money) and Beta (which is a facebook bot that send you messages about feminist laws).
Obviously this kind of stuff is to advanced to me right now, but we got to start somewhere, right? I started to look for public data from the government and I got baffled by how it was almost nonexistent and hard to get. So I decided to start small. I remembered about this group on facebook about Niterói, this city I live in, and how everyone complain about the mayor, about the councilmen, about security, health, education and so on. Participating in this group, you feel in a different city from the one the politicians advertises on the streets, so we clearly have a communication problem in here.
That’s how Big Brother Niterói was born. I’m going to have to scrap the data from the City Hall website as they don’t provide an API with the data. And the hotsite to seek the information is not that intuitive either, you already have to know who proposed the law or even the law number itself 😒. It’s more useful for internal use then for public access.
With one page listing information about different types of documents, it looked easy for a start. But as we all know, when it come to technology, if it look simple, there’s something wrong 😅. When we started developing for web the right way, there was something called tableless (remember it?), where we use proper HTML tags instead of throwing tables everywhere.
Back then, when someone used tables to help organize the layout, the way we do today with CSS grids, we said the site was divless. Well, to say the site I’m scrapping is divless is being polite 😂. The 4 DIVs present on that 1237 lines of HTML are useless. In the middle of 2018 see something like this is bizarre. God bless BeautifulSoup 🙏.