Akvo_platform_diag

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

I was going to write about what comes next in the development work on the Akvo Platform, but I drew this system architecture diagram of the platform the other day (prompted by Vinay Gupta) and when I showed it to Mark Westra today he said: “You need to post that on the blog!” So here we are.

The Akvo Platform is built on a standard LAMP stack. With Ubuntu Server, being the Linux we deploy on (we develop on Apple Mac OS X and Ubuntu Server). The web server is an Apache server, the database is MySQL and the programming languages used are primarily Python/Django for our own code and PHP for several of the prebuilt components. We use a number of different Django components, and several of them are from the Pinax project, and I suspect more of the Pinax components will be included over time.

We currently use three different Content Management Systems (CMS) on the site, other than Akvo RSR, and they are Drupal for the general content, Mediawiki for the Akvopedia and WordPress for the blog. The fourth CMS is our own Akvo RSR system which I described in the earlier blogs.

Finally we have the Akvo RSR SMS system, which we haven’t described much earlier, so I will talk about it a little here. Akvo RSR SMS is actually two different parts. One application which implements a generic sms gateway, able to talk to multiple different SMS to web API gateway vendors, configurable from a web interface. This application is providing an API to both send and receive messages through the gateway. This component is very much in development, and we are testing the first incarnation of it right now. (You may have seen me babbling on about sending and receiving SMS messages recently.) The gateway should give us the option of providing local phone numbers to send SMS updates to in many different countries. The generic SMS gateway application will most likely be released as a separate open source project. This means that it may be used by someone like John Brennan and integrated into the myactionmap.org project, which is something which we have discussed.

The second part of the Akvo RSR SMS system is the part of Akvo RSR which talks to the generic SMS gateway application. This piece is an integral part of Akvo RSR. Among other things this provides the user interface for the sign-up procedure and the facility which allows us to tie a particular mobile phone number and gateway phone number combination to a particular project.

The MMS part of the system, which will allow a user to send pictures and text messages as updates from his/her mobile phone, may take a bit longer to implement, as mobile telephone operators are not very consistent in their MMS implementations. In many places it is hard to even get MMS messages to travel between different operators, let alone interact with SMS/MMS gateways.

The next post in the series will talk about what we are looking to extend the Akvo Platform with, during next year. (Unless I get side-tracked again…)

The whole article series about the Akvo Platform: