It’s been almost a year since we – the members of the Noordwind teal organization started working on our own, fully open sourced project named Collectively, being the platform for the citizens that would help them report and discuss about things that are important for their community and environment. On the 15th of September, there will be a special event (including press conference) held in Kraków related to our platform as well, so please feel already invited. And now, let me introduce what the Collectively is all about.
Let’s go for the better, Collectively.
Before we start, let me give you a few useful links:
- Landing page
- Responsive web application
- Android application (early beta, for now only available for the Polish users)
- GitHub repositories
- Feedback forum
- API documentation
- Build services
- Application guide (in Polish)
And I just want to state that, we will greatly appreciate any feedback, whether it would be your opinion about the idea, application, code, design or bugs, as we’re working on the solution on a daily basis and didn’t have a chance to test it with a broader audience.
It all began in September 2016, when we decided that it’d be nice if we could somehow report e.g. the litter left in the woods using some designed application for this purpose. Thus, we started working on our own solution, and since we’re the strong believers of the open source software, which provides the transparency required to gain the real trust of the users, we also decided that everything will be created this way.
Everything we did was by using our own funds and free time, as we did not look for the investors, as the typical startup business. Since the local communities and citizens lacked such tool, we thought that someone should change it and deliver a platform that’d help us to improve the environment. We believed, and still, do believe, that it’s high time that citizens, including me, you or your neighbors will take care of their city as well, instead of just relying on some public services or companies. You can think of it as one step towards the so-called Society 2.0.
After some time, we realized that our solution doesn’t have to be tied only to negative things such as litter, so it can be much more open and universal tool, that will allow sending remarks (as we named it such) about positive things as well. Eventually, we chose 4 categories: defects, issues, suggestions, praises – which means that you can report something that you don’t like, as well as something that you find to be nice and enjoyable.
After few months of work, we started talking to some municipalities in Kraków (which is where the idea was born) and finally gained some attention. We’re very happy to state that our first official partner is ZZM (Zarząd Zieleni Miejskiej) – the unit responsible for taking care of green areas, trees, parks etc. With their support and belief in the Collectively platform, we strongly believe that it will be the first, very important step into changing the mentality of the citizens, by giving them such tool, that is easy to use, fully open and transparent and provides the link between public services and citizens, so that each one of us can take care of the environment that we are surrounded by and has a direct impact on our lives.
There are a lot of different scenarios that would further enhance the usage of the platform, just to name a few:
- Partnership with more public services or companies in order to work with them together on relevant tasks.
- Introduce gamification features to get the people more involved in resolving the sent remarks.
- Make use of the AI such as image recognition services in order to easier categorize the remarks and distribute them to the relevant groups.
- Add a new category for the micro jobs, so that people could ask for help and get paid for the resolved tasks.
- Implement the Blockchain technology for the inner payments between the users (related to the micro jobs).
- Allow the users to organize and together perform some actions or raise the funds for the particular goals.
- Provide the identity (single account) that connects the citizens with the different public units.
The Collectively platform can be used for the variety of purposes, as it’s pretty universal solution designed for reporting things (by sending remarks) that can be of any nature, which means that you can build your own tool on top of the Collectively that is suited to your custom needs. There are many features available out of the box, such as:
- User registration, verification and authentication using email or Facebook.
- Account management (notification settings, avatars, password, favorite remarks, locking).
- Remarks – sending, browsing, processing including groups, description, tags, photos and different states.
- Optional groups and organizations with different member roles and criteria.
- Social features such as comments, activities, votes.
- Reporting rules violation by users.
- Statistics for the variety of entities.
- Customizable email notifications.
- Multi-language applications.
- Responsive web applications.
- Native Android application (early beta).
You can find more info about the tech-stack by browsing the repositories related to the particular project but in general, this is what our architecture and stack look like:
- Distributed, cloud based, open source platform, built with microservices.
- Orchestration and Docker container based services management using Rancher.
- Core API and microservices are written mostly using C# and .NET Core 2.0.
- RabbitMQ as service bus, MongoDB as storage, Redis for caching and AWS S3 for files.
- Travis CI for the CI & CD services.
- Native Android application (early beta).
- Responsive web application built with Aurelia framework.
- Administration panel built with React framework (work in progress).
- Real-time communication using WebSockets with Socket.IO framework.
- Robin Adam – the man behind the idea.
- Piotr Gankiewicz – architect, full stack developer, devops.
- Grzegorz Paśnik – full stack developer.
- Adrian Kremski – Android developer.
- Maciej Zając – UI & UX designer.
- Patryk Huzarski – admin panel web developer.
Most of us work after hours, during spare time, however, personally, I decided to drop any freelance stuff over a month ago, which means that I am fully dedicated to developing the platform and this is my daily work that consumes most of my time.