To read the first instalment in this series, please see Akvo Platform, part 1. What it is.

Edit: We have now released Akvo RSR 1.0 and you should check this post out, as it has a lot more up to date information. (Edited: 25 Nov. 2010, by Thomas).

Most of the development seen so far for the Akvo Platform has been in Akvo RSR. So before we go into discussing extending the Akvo Platform we will have a look at what is next for Akvo RSR.

Akvo RSR development, summer to autumn 2009

First a quick recap. What have we been working on in the autumn of 2009? The Akvo RSR roadmap tell us that we have been working on:

  • Sponsor partner landing page
  • Akvo RSR new look and new features
  • Akvo Widgets
  • Workflow engine
  • SMS / MMS
  • PayPal integration and project funds
  • Search

The Sponsor partner landing page was implemented with the first partner being Live Earth. You can see a sample of this by going to https://www.akvo.org/rsr/liveearth/ We are going to extend this functionality to be more generic and usable by more partners in the future.

We are still working on the Akvo RSR new look, and we have implemented a bunch of new features in the latest releases. For details, check out the release notes.

The Akvo Widget system is implemented. We will be creating more widgets and a better widget selection system, but the core engine for the widgets are in place and we are pretty happy with the result. To see how some organisations have used the Akvo Widgets, check out these screenshots.

The Workflow engine has taken longer to implement than we expected. We ended up rolling back quite a lot of work when we decided the workflow component we were using was just not going to cut it. We need the workflow engine in place for the SMS sign up procedure, so it has been holding up the SMS work as well. The first workflow, for publishing a project is in a very early (pre-alpha) stage at the moment and we are in the process of designing an easy-to-use user interface for it.

The SMS (mobile phone) update system for Akvo RSR has been developed in parallel with the workflow engine. We decided that the SMS signup procedure should use the new workflow system, otherwise we would end up hardcoding yet another workflow (like the current account signup procedure), which we didn’t want to do. We are shooting for a beta release of the SMS update system before the end of 2009.

The PayPal integration and work on related components has gone very well and we are doing a bunch of minor updates to this in the next couple of weeks. Specifically the system now handles multiple currencies and can pay directly to different partners’ PayPal accounts.

The Search features we haven’t had time to start on, so this is high priority for the winter and spring work.

To see the detailed day to day progress of the development work you can check out our Akvo website development queue in Pivotal Tracker.

Akvo RSR development, winter 2009 – spring 2010

For the winter of 2009 and the spring of 2010 we are working in the following areas, in roughly this order of priority:

  • Installation documentation
  • IDEAL payment system integration
  • SMS (mobile phone) update system
  • User interface translation system and procedures
  • Internal web traffic analysis system
  • Google Maps integration
  • Find and search features
  • New look and feel for Akvo RSR and the Akvo.org site
  • Akvo automated build and test system
  • Support tools for programmes (many projects together)
  • Facebook applications
  • Organisational donation procedures
  • Data collection, for financial and progress reports from the Akvo RSR database

Several of these areas are worked on by different people. For example, Paul works on the IDEAL payment system and Beth works on the user interface translation system. External consultants, like Björn and Oliver help us with the web traffic analysis and the automated build and test system. This means that some of this work will be completed before other work on the list is done and we move on to our second list of priorities.

The items on this list are further out, and priorities may well change over the next couple of months. They are in no particular order of priority:

  • An integrated partner and customer feedback system
  • User interface translation automation
  • Google Translate integration with projects
  • Widget for whole projects (browse in place)
  • Better donation view and feedback system
  • Embed video in the system
  • Better formatting options in updates and projects
  • MMS updates (mobile phone text and pictures)

Ok, so that turned into a fairly hefty blog post. So the next post in the series will talk about what we are looking to extend the Akvo Platform with, during next year.

The whole article series about the Akvo Platform: