About the Organization
FrontlineSMS is a project of the kiwanja Foundation, a California-registered 501(c)(3) non-profit. Our software is used by organisations all over the world to help drive transformative social change in every sector from health to legal services to disaster response. Our sector-specific sub-projects, FrontlineSMS:Credit, FrontlineSMS:Learn, FrontlineSMS:Legal and FrontlineSMS:Radio focus on providing tailored software and support to those areas of work. Medic Mobile, formerly FrontlineSMS:Medic and now its own 501(c)(3), uses FrontlineSMS in support of clinics and healthcare service providers in the developing world.
The sofware has been downloaded nearly 20,000 times, and is being used in over 70 countries across the world. Seeing the many of ways FrontlineSMS is being used helps demonstrate the versatility of the software. Some recent case study examples include: Information as aid in East Africa's famine, Text messages help Columbian miners get a fair price, Nigerians mobilize for free and fair elections, and Mapping Harassment on the streets of Egypt. These are a few specific examples, but there are plently more available here on the FrontlineSMS website.
|License||LGPL / AGPL|
|Primary Language/Framework||Java / Grails / Hybernate / HSQLDB|
|Platforms||Cross-platform desktop application or web|
It is designed primarily for use as a desktop application on a single machine, but has the option to access the UI over HTTP so that it can be deployed as a web application either on a local network, or over the internet. SMS devices can be connected locally using USB, BlueTooth or serial connections, or online services can be accessed via SMPP or custom APIs. The Core platform, being redeveloped in 2011, will be supplemented by a set of plugins which will extend its functionality. Some of this functionality may be developed by the sector-specific sub-projects and incorporated into their tailored versions of FrontlineSMS; some may be developed by the Core team after version 2 is completed; and some may be developed in partnership with clients and reincorporated into the Core product set after testing.
Developer community management is handled by our Lead Developer, Alex Anderson who is based in Nairobi, Kenya, along with all of our developers. They have support from a London-based product manager and community management staff. Alex leads on technical mentoring for developer volunteers. When Alex is not available, his second, David Kutalek, takes over.
Issue and bug tracking is done using Jira. Product documents are on the GitHub Wiki. We collaborate primarily using Skype. The developer community also has a Google Group and there is an IRC channel (#FrontlineSMS).
We utilize agile development which will allow us to easy incorporate volunteers into our team. We are currently running two-week iterations and have not yet released version 2, although it is about to go into closed trials with radio stations in Kenya.
Because we have such a varied product backlog, we believe we could tailor any one of many batches of stories or complete plugins for coding by a volunteer. Alternatively, volunteer coders could work on the installers for version 2.
Volunteers with less availability could help us to pull together the developer documentation we need to successfully build a volunteer coder community for version 2. This documentation would cover understanding the process of contributing code, identifying holes in the resources provided and filling those holes. Volunteers could also help by fixing bugs that are listed in our product backlog.
Volunteers with greater availability can dive into the code and new features based on our product backlog and priorities. A few examples of features that would be perfect for a volunteer: a FrontlineSMS forms plugin, building integration with online SMS gateways, adding reminders to the system, and browser extensions to show new messages or send quick messages without opening the app.
The development team has experience with getting Grails up and running on Windows, Mac, and Linux. They also work remotely frequently, so they can help with getting Grails running from anywhere.