Activism Network - Another Progress Report

I've decided that I need to stop "crying wolf" by trying to estimate when I will have a piece of software done because I have constantly missed my own deadlines by embarassing amounts. But on the other hand, I should practice creating deadlines so that in the future I will be able to make accurate predictions.

Here goes! I'm going to predict that I'll release an alpha client for the Activism Network by June 15. This is aimed at website developers who want to help me customize/improve/test it, and to generate excitement within the CivicSpace community. Then a beta/production worthy release will follow in a month or so (depends on whether I take a badly needed vacation, and whether I start working more on creating a board of directors, found an official organization, and fundraising.).

This will include a rudimentary install program (which could also be called "easy to use"), user instructions, and the ability to install/customize it for your website.

Right now I'm working on the customization part. I want to offer flexibility, without overloading the website developer (who I expect will often not be too experienced with php/mysql - as I hope to work with many grassroots activist groups).

Data Customization
So far you can filter the data that will appear on your website to include only information that is tied to one or more of the following:
-an issue
-a campaign
-an organization or network
-a country
-a state or province
-or a local area (defined by a zip code and a radius around it)

For instance, you can create a city-wide general activism site - and I hope people start developing these.

Choosing Which Data You Want
I might let you decide what parts of data you'd like to use. For instance, you could use the events calendar and nothing else. However, the software was designed to show how everything is related - and I'm unsure what to do if, for instance, a user views an event that is connected to an issue. I guess I could still show the connection and just not make it clickable.

Organizational Ownership
I haven't finished this part yet. I'm thinking that I will allow the website developer to customize how it looks by adding:
-a site title
-a logo
-a text description of how they want their users to use the Activism Network software (ex. you might encourage its use for a specific campaign, for organizing a day of action, for spreading informative resources, etc)

Breaking Out of Filtering
A website owner/developer can choose to customize/filter their website. However users can choose to break out of the filtering (note: they cannot break out of the customization of things like organizational logo and site name). This gives users the option to choose whether to view a restricted part of the data, which will hopefully be more relevant to their needs (better signal to noise ratio), or to view all the data.

Feedback Request!
Does anyone have suggestions as to what kind of features I could implement that would encourage organizations/website owner's to install this software?

What could I do, that wouldn't be too much work, that would give organizations a stronger sense of ownership of the Activism Network section of their website?

Two Versions
I'm planning on having a stand-alone version and one that runs as modules for CivicSpace/Drupal.

Activism Network - Installation Requirements
-PHP (I'm guessing 4.3.1 or better - I tested it on 4.3.4)
-1-3 MB disk space
-MySQL is required if you want to run it under CivicSpace/Drupal, otherwise you don't need it.

The image module ....

I had some pictures to import into a Drupal based system. The image module would be nice to have 'prev' and 'next' links to walk through the pictures. Can this be rigged with the book module?



Do you have a stand-alone version running? I like Drupal, but I also have some websites that don't use it. I'd love to have a standalone version running for the 46th LD, which is entirely within Seattle.

Chad Lupkes

re: standalone

I haven't put work into the stand-alone version yet. I'm hoping it will be relatively easy, and that I'll mostly just have to change some page names. Because I'm not really relying upon Drupal for anything.

But there might be one or more unforseen hurdles...

I guess one possible delay will be developing some kind of homepage and/or a navigational system. I might make it look like the home page - as that would be easiest. That would mean using SmartMenus Javascript-based navigation system, which I actually like, but which admittedly isn't that common on websites.

I did start to wonder whether Javascript navigation is a good idea when I looked at a number of major corporate websites and found that NONE of them used it. On the other hand, it works like most computer programs do - so it should be intuitive. And SmartMenus is pretty good software.