18F is out! The Development Challenge Begins – Day 1, Wednesday

Dev Technology was eagerly awaiting the request for proposal (RFP) of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) new blanket purchase agreement for agile development and delivery services. When it was released on June 17, we quickly got to work. What made this effort so exciting, was that instead of writing 20+ pages speaking to a technical and management approach, we were tasked to write software and deliver a working prototype based on the OpenFDA dataset. 18F seeks to find government contractors who understand and can deliver agile development services, so this was the perfect vehicle for showcasing our services and abilities. The following series of posts describes our daily approach to this development challenge for Pool Two – Development Pool – Total set aside for SB concerns.

We spent Day 1 looking at the OpenFDA dataset. Since 18F did not specify exactly what our prototype should do, it was up to us to analyze the dataset and develop an idea. We decided to build an application that would allow users to search for drug recall information. We put together our plan, and devised a technical stack and architecture.


Our initial architectural thoughts involved a lightweight Java based system, JavaScript, and JSON. I’ll have more on this in the next post. Michelle Scheuerman was the project leader, product owner, and lead our four person development team comprised of

The only unexpected requirement in the RFP is that we needed to “deploy [our] software in a container (i.e., utilized operating-system-level virtualization)”. This was an exciting twist since we had been playing with Docker  recently on internal projects, so we finally had a chance to use what we learned.


This post is number 1 in a series of daily posts by Adam D’Angelo about Dev Technology’s 6-day development of the Drug Recall Information Center (DRIC) for the 18F Agile Delivery Services proposal and development challenge. View the entire series here.