This is a joint post by James Gardner, the lead developer on CKAN and Rufus Pollock, creator of CKAN and project lead for Where Does My Money Go.

The Open Knowledge Foundation is looking for really good Python web developers to join our organisation to work on CKAN, our open source web-based catalogue system built on Pylons, and Where Does My Money Go? our open-source web application for exploring government spending.

As you may already know, CKAN allows users to submit, search and find open data packages. As well as powering, CKAN software also helps run the UK Government’s site and it also powers over 20 other catalogues around the world with more on the way in Norway, Holland and Finland. Providing central places where people can register, find, and download datasets is a key part of building the web of data.

The Open Knowledge Foundation is a great place to work. It’s a small team, so there’s opportunity to make a big difference. There’s always lots of stuff going on; interesting people popping in and out all the time; some press exposure; some activism; quite a broad remit; and open-ended possibilities. In keeping with the spirit of the organisation, you can find out a lot about the different projects using Google.

Week to week, work in the CKAN team generally involves a Monday morning team catch-up via Skype where we each update other team members on what we achieved the previous week and the areas we plan to work on during the coming week. There are often discussions on our mailing lists about new functionality that has been suggested by someone in the community or new features required by a particular organisation. The tasks are then broken down into tickets on our trac so that the community can see what we are planning.

At the moment the team includes James Gardner, Nils Toedtmann, Friedrich Lindenberg, David Read, Seb Bacon, Will Waites and others. Between us we have skills in Python, Pylons, PostgreSQL, SQLAlchemy, Genshi, Solr, AMQP, cloud server deployments, project management, analysis and design, the semantic web and RDF. The more of these you have experience with the better but Python, Pylons, SQLAlchemy, PostgreSQL, the web (including REST) are pretty essential. In other words, we are looking for more than your typical code monkey.

The work is varied and interesting but here’s a snapshot of the sort of things we are doing this month:

  • Creating a JSON-P data proxy API to allow browser-based mashups to be build directly against data in CKAN
  • Providing facilities for geo-spatial data and the ability to harvest information from INSPIRE metadata records as part of the UK Location Programme
  • Moving functionality into extension packages so that the codebase can continue to be maintainable whilst supporting many different customers
  • Refactoring the tests so that they pass very quickly, facilitating a more test-driven approach
  • Building a more community-focussed site at and making it easier to run CKAN instances
  • Changing the site to help sepearate the concepts of data owners and organisations which help make the data available

If you are a really good developer with a keen interest in open data, and enjoy working with open source, we’d love to hear from you. Whilst we are a not-for-profit we recognise the value really good developers can bring to a team and your pay would reflect this. It would be great if you were based in London but remote working is perfectly acceptable too. We have team members in Berlin, Gloucester and Edinburgh as well as London.

To find out more about CKAN you can clone the CKAN mercurial repository from, follow the latest install README, browse the mailing list archives or try submitting any real data sets you know of to

To learn more about the Open Knowledge Foundation visit

To apply for the position please send your CV or blog URL to and we’ll take it from there. We are flexible on employee versus contractor but we normally contract.

Also if you know of any excellent Python developers who you think may be interested in this position, please forward them this post.

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Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge.

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