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Chart-Heavy Cloud-Based New Now with CMS!

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, December 6 2010

As if Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud (a.k.a. EC20 needed more press this month, what Amazon's wave goodbye last week to Wikileaks, the U.S. Treasury Department has just taken the curtains down on a brand-new Amazon-hosted The site, says, the department, marks the first time that a Cabinet-level U.S. federal government website has been fully hosted on a distributed cloud computing platform.

There are plenty of federal IT folks that will talk about how cloud computing, Amazon and otherwise, saves real taxpayer dollars by old making use of server space and cycles when they're needed. But people working the grind inside Treasury just seem happy to have a minimally modern site to work with. "This is exactly the kind of game-changing technology required," says U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra in a release. But try to detect the pain and pathos implied by this line elsewhere in that same document. "For the first time," it reads, "Treasury will be using a content management system to dynamically display information and data on the site." In 2010, having a functioning CMS on a federal government website can still be cause for celebration.

But that new CMS and design is making possible better displays of the sort of quantitative information that Treasury has to provide the public on the ins and outs of the American economy, and it's here that the department's innovations are most plainly visible. Alongside the bulk data downloads that had been serving up pre-redesign, there are now a number of interactive charts designed to make it far easier to grab real-time and near real-time data from the site. After the jump, for example, you can compare and contrast how the old site presented daily Treasury yield curve rates, and how the new is tackling that same task.

The site's brand-new, and it remains to be seen how the site's user base will judge the revamp after they've kicked the tires on it. But there's been one clear win already. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new blog is called "Treasury Notes." The universe pretty much demanded that one.

Have a look -- How the old site handled serving daily Treasury yield curve rates:

And how the new is handling serving up that same information: