With immense pride and gratitude, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Government Site Builder (GSB) project. On September 30, 2003, our partner, Materna, unveiled the inaugural GSB version, built upon CoreMedia’s robust content management system (CMS). This milestone provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the remarkable journey that has profoundly shaped the landscape of digital government services.
The early 2000s marked the launch of the ambitious "BundOnline 2005" project, aiming to digitize all internet-enabled federal administration services. Little did we anticipate that this endeavor would evolve into a long-lasting success story. Over the past two decades, GSB has been instrumental in implementing over 250 web presences and intranets, including the Robert Koch-Institut, the Bundesrat, the Deutscher Wetterdienst, and many more. Many of these projects have leveraged GSB's standard solution, known for its adaptability, allowing easy customization to meet unique needs. This flexibility, in combination with CoreMedia's unwavering commitment to stability, security, and performance, solidified a now 20-year history of success.
Historical Context: BundOnline 2005
In 2003, pivotal contracts were signed between the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Minister of the Interior (BMI) and the Procurement Office (BeschA), and Materna, the general contractor for the BundOnline 2005 project. In a rigorous selection process in 2003, Materna emerged as the general contractor, with CoreMedia’s CMS selected to be the technical backbone for this standard solution.
BundOnline 2005 was designed as a visionary e-administration initiative, spearheaded by federal authorities in Germany. It aimed to digitize all internet-enabled services of the federal administration, while enhancing state efficiency. Its objective was to make federal government services more accessible to citizens, businesses, and government bodies, simplifying processes and reducing costs.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior oversaw the project, with central coordination led by the BundOnline project group. Over a span of five years, approximately 100 federal agencies underwent transformative processes to provide their services online, making it one of the largest e-government initiatives in Europe.
Alongside central components and competence centers established to support ministries and authorities in realizing their digital services, a pivotal aspect of this initiative was the development of competence centers and an online presence capable of responding to federal agencies' evolving needs. One of these was the Government Site Builder, a central content management solution for the federal government.
Introducing the Government Site Builder (GSB)
The GSB was built with data protection, prefabrication, and accessibility in mind, and designed to be robust enough to handle high-traffic situations, or times of crisis — as evidenced during the COVID-19 crisis, with visits to the Robert Koch-Institut site at an all-time high.
The GSB Standard Solution itself is a versatile toolkit designed for rapid and straightforward website development. It offers pre-designed layout templates, navigation concepts, and a rich set of features, including the "Apache Solr" full-text search software library. These components can be deployed as-is, individually configured, or further enhanced with customizations.
The GSB also aids users in achieving GDPR compliance and supports the creation of barrier-free websites, aligning with the Barrier-Free Information Technology Regulation (BITV 2.0) and adhering to established e-government standards.
GSB: A modern and user-centric solution
Every successful project owes its triumph to dedicated individuals. Our partnership with Materna, coupled with the invaluable contributions of Ulrich Pinner, Dr. Georg Kösters, and their teams, transcends the realm of professionalism and has blossomed into a profound friendship characterized by open and constructive dialogue, even in the face of challenges. To Ulrich and Georg, you are the embodiment of GSB.
As we celebrate two decades of GSB, we extend our sincere appreciation to our partners, the unwavering dedication of numerous individuals, and the transformative influence that GSB has had on Germany's e-government services. Looking forward, we remain steadfast in our commitment to efficiency, accessibility, and innovation, ensuring that GSB continues to empower government agencies to effectively serve citizens and businesses in the digital age.