Public & visitor feedback
Simple data lookup applications
Agencies can add simple, searchable database applications using paid software from Caspio.
If you need to maintain large datasets that can easily be sorted and searched through by Mass.gov visitors, this option may help.
Caspio is a paid low code/no code software-as a-service product that is well suited to use with simple databases. Exact cost will vary depending on your needs. Your organization will need to purchase Caspio through the existing statewide software reseller contract.
Caspio offers features such as a customizable search interface with distance search, a results views with pagination, and sortable columns, and an optional details page view for each record. There are a variety of options to keep data up to date that include direct form entry and scheduled daily data imports. The applications are embedded directly into Mass.gov pages on Information Details, Organization, and soon Service pages.
We have used Caspio and found it to be very scalable and able to handle large amounts of traffic. It has strong security, good responsive styling for mobile layouts, and public-facing code that is accessible. Caspio’s pricing model also works very well for large amounts of public traffic as that is not a cost factor. If you have identified other similar services that are scalable, secure, responsive, and accessible, please contact us via ServiceNow and we may consider adding support to embed that product.

Your responsibilities

Mass Digital does not provide services to create or support Caspio applications. It will be up to your organization to:
  1. 1.
    Review your potential use of Caspio with your security team and get their approval before moving forward.
  2. 2.
    Create an account with Caspio for a free subscription, and if needed, procure a paid subscription.
  3. 3.
    Create, maintain, enhance and support your application.
  4. 4.
    Create and maintain any custom code and styles you may choose to use.
  5. 5.
    Manage security for your application and any data in it.
  6. 6.
    Create and manage any accounts for users in the state organization who will enter or modify data manually
  7. 7.
    Use vendor support resources to solve any issues. (you can chat with the vendor and place support tickets)
  8. 8.
    Monitor usage and feedback
  9. 9.
    Ensure 2- factor authentication is enabled for all accounts requiring that
  10. 10.
    Renew your subscription annually if you want to continue use.
Skill requirements:
While no coding is required, learning to use Caspio will take an investment in time from someone at your organization who has solid general technical skills. Caspio offers free video tutorials and help materials to guide you, but you should expect at least 30 to 60 hours of effort learning on your own to become generally proficient. If you need to customize or adjust styles in your application, then solid HTML and CSS skills are required.

Caspio offerings

Caspio will provide:

Mass Digital's role

Mass Digital Services will provide:
  • The ability to embed Caspio in the page types mentioned above.
  • Suggested style code that has worked well in the past when embedding applications on the Mass.gov site. You will be responsible for any edits to these styles.

More about using Caspio

Appropriate uses:

  • Lookup applications that contain <1,000,000 records across all tables in the applications. (The number of records is a cost factor.)
  • Only public information should be entered in the application
While Caspio technically supports simple transactional applications, we are not using it in this way on Mass.gov. If you are interested in no-code/low-code transactional applications, or any application that contains non-public information, please discuss with your organization’s CIO and security leaders.

Functionality

To get an idea of what Caspio can do, please go to their website and review their introductory videos. You can also get a free account with limited functionality.

Data management

There are several ways data can be managed in Caspio applications:.

Open data

To participate in open government and encourage data reuse, CSV downloads of the full dataset data should be offered as a part of any lookup application. You can automate this by scheduling a data export to a CSV file and link to it from your application.