Looking for overview, comments, warnings, and suggestions for timebank and community drupal setups

Bill Eichman's picture

If anyone is watching, I'm looking for use examples, experiences, and reviews for timebanking installations and anything related to hours and using drupal for local community development and services.

Community forge just released their new Hamlet distro, I am installing it now to take a look. i am guessing, based on the size, that it is the stripped down variation they have been describing in a webpage, dru7 and community accounting basically.

I have considered for a while trying to help with or do a community tools distro, along the lines of some of the big popular distros - pack everything together, create a few profiles that we think work well enough to not feel like jerks for releasing it to the public, a guide to the contents and ways to configure it, and hope to get the crowd to test it to destruction and share the results. (So that following distros can avoid or patch around the desrtruction.)

I was looking at the 'remnants' of community weaver - which is based on a fairly unique dru6 installation that does not survive module updates, once installed you have to preserve and watch it and don't let anyone update certain parts, and dont let anyone update who can't fix an update crash. But, dru6 is stable enough, you could make just such an installation in a subdomain or directory and keep it protected and should be able to run community weaver and take advantage of drupals power in carefully customizing CW and end up with something significantly better than a timebanks.org account.

But, that dru6 install by itself looks pretty tedious, and if someone else has done it, I'd like to study with them and try to avoid reinventing the wheel.

If anyone has projects other than community forge and community weaver, or wants to sing the praises of some distribution or some collection of modules, I'd love to hear it.

Comments

We have been moving forward

jwurster's picture

We have been moving forward with CW and will be having an update soon that will be taking advantage of all the current Drupal capabilities.

CW Updates ???

Jim Tate's picture

Looks like I have been left out of the loop. I don't know anything about any CW updates. I remember the good old days of TimeBanking when these things were discussed before being implemented. It seems communications have really broken down.

I have many customizations in place in my D6 CW installation (www.ourtimebank.com) that may be better or worse than some new version. I also have plans for making more improvements. Perhaps I will need to pull out from under TBUSA and have CW hosted elsewhere, or just move to TNT.

It's quite frustrating to hear that there are CW changes in the works and that fact has never been communicated ... and please don't tell me its been discussed on a FaceBook page someplace because there are many of us TBers that will not use FB.

Jim

Nothing stays static and survives

jwurster's picture

I'll just say that for any software to keep up to date with technology and with the needs of it's clients and potential clients, it will change.

And remember that it's not the software you use, it's the timebanking movement that's important. Software is only a tool and there are many. Your concerns are certainly valid.

jim

The Future of Community Weaver vs Inputs From Leaders

Jim Tate's picture

I agree that the essence of TimeBanking is in the movement itself. Yet it’s an internet age movement and leverages internet based tools to facilitate TimeBanking. Therefore, tools like Community Weaver are an important part of the whole process. The future of CW’s role is especially important to those of us who use it daily.

It’s a telling observation that TBUSA does not use its own tool (the Action Hub) to discuss improvements to Community Weaver. The tool was developed in Drupal with that in mind and at no small cost to TBUSA. We can all criticize that tool for being overly complex and awkward to use, but it is the tool we have, so those that feel it is too technically challenging should get over it and help improve it (probably too late now).

It seems that TBers who favor using social media, no matter how menacing that social media may be to their privacy rights, are now controlling the destiny of Community Weaver. The opinions and ideas from the rest of us are just not being considered anymore. What has happened to the core values of TimeBanking when it comes to improving our internet based tools?

• We are all assets.
• Helping works better as a two-way street.
• We need each other.
• Every human being matters.

Perhaps there should be an effort to communicate with and involve all CW-based TB leaders in discussing software improvements. Leaving this important topic in the hands of social media users alone probably condems CW to mediocrity, like the new TBUSA site.

Bill Eichman's picture

Hi Guys, well this was a better response than I expected, and maybe it will increase in numbers of speakers.

I had no idea that anyone was working on adapting cw to d7, and am glad to hear it's a possibility. Hell, I think this should be made MUCH more common knowledge, so, spider food - Community Weaver is in the process of being updated for drupal 7. That leads to several obvious questions.

  1. Any way of getting a sense of when it might be ready for testing?
  2. What's the model of the functions and features of the updated version? Is there a list of desired features that you are working from, possibly a list that could be gone over by possible future users and improvements or modifications added?
  3. Do you need help in the project? If you do, what kind, and in what workflow?

I could go on, but that's plenty for now.

============================

Another topic - what do you know, if anything, about hourworld? Some of my people here want to use them, but I got a slightly funny handover from their main tech guy to sales and administration and a request that we attend training several states away for a moderate chuck of money, and was given materials I saw as sales materials with requests that we get more members to do this training at what would amount to a serious cost. Google hourworld and you should find their presence.

I started to lean away from them when i realized their hours system is proprietary, centralized, and what you got was an access code to their server(s).

I want an opensource community presence that is controlled by the community that uses it, and can be infinitely developed. I want to see if a group of developers can be assembled to make several packages of such community-services-in-a-box.

Jim T, I'd like to hear more about the "many customizations" you have in your timebanks CW. Any chance you have summaries, or can make a screencast, or something of the sort?

===================

I installed the new community forge "hamlets" - and in the process had to shake my head a few times. they still left out the safer permissions module, and the install halts untill you get that module and and put it in the directory. Then the install starts again - and the good news is unlike the package before, the required custom theme does not instantly break, and the screen is not flooded with red errors - there are only about 6 or so. Until you start turning on the various modules installed under the profile.

It's not a distribution that is "ready", in my opinion. The kinds of people who will install such a package are not hardened drupoal user1s, they will mostly be beginners.

I think distributions should be assembled that come as close to working "right outta the box" as can be made to happen, with copious docs for beginners outside and inside the compressed distro.

That's all for now. Ohhh right - has anyone studied distros like the bahai distro to se eif they could be usefully adapted as a base for a timebank and community services package?

Bill

In 2006 when I was asked to take over a drupal based website my first reaction was "This is crazy, who would build something like this?". I still feel that way, but I can not stop being obsessed with drupal. "Who's crazy now?", drupal prints on my monito

More Info

Jim Tate's picture

Hi Bill, It was not made clear if the Community Weaver revisions would include an upgrade to D7, or if it is just an update to D6 and its base multi-site modules, nor was there any discussion about the possible timing.

All of this concerns me because I have made many changes to my version of Community Weaver. Some of the modules we had planned to use last year are not yet installed because of an FTP problem that existed at TBUSA for about 9 months after they changed servers last year. I believe there are new 2014 server problems that need to be addressed before any Community Weaver changes are applied. I have reported some of the more problematic ones and have been waiting for a response.

Our Community Weaver changes are summarized in this Google doc: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B24t6h19K3jUMjE2YjgwYzgtZDU5ZS00OTcxLTh... . Many of our changes were internal bug-fixes to make CW work properly for our members. We also made changes to incorporate our once separate website into CW2. This saved us $ since Drupal is a full content mgmt system and can handle the private CW stuff along with the public website stuff. I have worked with other CW TimeBanks and helped them make some of the same or similar changes.

Although I have “user 1” access to my site, I’m not a Drupal developer and have been learning bits and pieces about Drupal since 2012. Being a TimeBanker who has worked in the technology field as a project manager for many years, I too would like to see a full list of what’s planned for the CW “surprise”.

I’m quite familiar with hOurworld and its Time and Talents software. I have TB friends that have switched to TNT from CW. Just this year hOurworld announced a new joint venture with TimeBanks UK to replace the old Time On-Line software with TNT. The rollout has begun. Its too bad TNT is not based on an open source distribution and there is not too much their individual TB’s can do to customize their TNT sites. All will likely need to maintain a separate website and use TNT as their TimeBank engine. TNT has a very sound TB engine, probably more capable than CW.

The Community Forge software has replaced CW at one of the largest USA based TB’s and others, such as me, may follow soon. See an example here: http://danecountytimebank.org

There are some other larger TB’s using Ruby (a bit more complex than Drupal I think). Example:
http://timebank.sfbace.org

More info about community currencies and software tools can be found here: http://www.appropedia.org/Community_Currencies

Community Forge Release

matslats's picture

Hi I'm the Community Forge solo volunteer developer.
I apologise for the experience you had when installing the software. Please note that I respond to support requests very quickly and we would all profit more from problems being reported to me than to the world-at-large.
Community Forge hosts nearly 100 sites for free, in addition to developing free software and we have volunteers managing the hosted platform. Volunteers (not me) have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours supporting those sites and identifying bugs and we now have a very tested, very appropriate, very supported hosted distro running on our server. The published distro, which is slightly different receives less feedback and so is lower priority. Such is open source.

Installation profiles in d7 are pretty tricky and doubly so when you have to upgrade from d6 and doubly so when you are running a custom version. But once installed the distro should fly.

I repeat, I will fix all reported bugs, quickly.

I'm saddened at the Larks and TBUSA's lack of engagement with me as a fan, volunteer and author of the most important module, and at the way development is happening without reference to the rest of the movement. For example last year I designed a generic API between timebanking systems and mobile phones, but I understand that Larks is now building their own phone app with no discussion of an API and no possibility to share the app more widely.

Currently I am working on Community Accounting module for Drupal 8 and for www.ces.org.za and a multi-exchange distribution will follow. Drupal engineers are invited to participate. I think that a well implemented intertrading network would be better than bitcoin for those who want a better society.

Hi Matt, let me address your

christefano's picture

Hi Matt, let me address your concerns. Just to be clear about where I'm coming from, I'm one of the Larks at Exaltation of Larks who worked closely with TimeBanks USA. My role was as a part-time developer and a part-time account manager.

I'm saddened at the Larks and TBUSA's lack of engagement with me as a fan, volunteer and author of the most important module, and at the way development is happening without reference to the rest of the movement.

Please don't mistake the lack of communication from me or anyone else at Exaltation of Larks as a lack of interest. We're a for-hire development company and as much as I'd like to work on time banking software, our daily activities center around our customer's projects and their needs.

As an individual, I'm a member of several time banks. I volunteered at several code sprints to help the Arroyo SECO Time Bank with serious problems in their aging Community Weaver software. Many time bankers are my friends and I regularly exchange services with them even though we're not using software-as-a-service to do it.

Droplabs, a business incubator and coworking space I co-founded, is now an organization member of the Arroyo SECO Time Bank and offers coworking services and venue rental to time bank members in exchange for time dollars.

I hope you can see from this that my interest and involvement in time banking is pretty high. I think you and I are trying to solve the same problem — using technology to strengthen and promote time banking — and we probably have a lot more in common than not.

For example last year I designed a generic API between timebanking systems and mobile phones, but I understand that Larks is now building their own phone app with no discussion of an API and no possibility to share the app more widely.

I'd love to know where you heard this. We're not actively building a time banking mobile app, although we're certainly interested in being a part of that. Not only do we have the technical experience, a number of the other Larks here are big fans of time banking and would use such an app.

Exaltation of Larks did work with TimeBanks USA in 2012-2013 and created a pitch deck and other materials for them to raise funds for Community Weaver 3.0. Included in the materials were some technical specifications and diagrams and workflows for a variety of devices.

We know how fast internet time is and that emerging technologies develop quickly so we intentionally made the API specs as broad as possible. We haven't worked as a vendor with TimeBanks USA for some time, though, and what they're doing with the materials we delivered is up to them.

A time banking mobile app is clearly a part of pushing time banking toward mainstream adoption. I'd love to chat with you about how to help make that happen.


Exaltation of Larks
Founder, CEO
http://www.larks.la  
Droplabs
Founder, Lead Burrito Analyst
http://droplabs.net  
Greater Los Angeles Drupal
Organizer, Drupal Adventure Guide
http://drupal.la  

Thanks Christefano, Lets move

matslats's picture

Thanks Christefano,
Lets move this conversation to email and just put useful information in public.

Thanks, matslats. I'm

christefano's picture

Thanks, matslats. I'm revisiting some of the loose threads from 2014 and this one is on my short list. I'd be glad to continue the conversation in public if you are.


Exaltation of Larks
Founder, CEO
http://www.larks.la  
Droplabs
Founder, Lead Burrito Analyst
http://droplabs.net  
Greater Los Angeles Drupal
Organizer, Drupal Adventure Guide
http://drupal.la  

public

matslats's picture

Sure. But right now I'm not sure what to talk about.
Timebanks USA is, I guess about to launch their new custom-built-from scratch platform. I continue to call for intertrading and global offers/wants service. I'm upgrading mutual credit module to drupal 8. Integral CES has just launched its own complete community system in Drupal 7. And there is far more uncoordinated volunteer energy being put into the space than money.
The CES project in Australia has in its near-term deliverables a timebanking app for which I have written a general purpose API linked above, but progress is painfully slow sometimes.

Dane County

matslats's picture

The danecountytimebank.org site was a customisation of Hamlets distro done by me, for free, as their well-fed guest. It is ready to do 2 currencies because they were planning to merge with the local LETS. I understand they are very pleased with the site and I receive few support requests. However as the only timebank in USA using Hamlets they are somewhat isolated and haven't built much in the way of a support infrastructure. I applaud Dane County TB for practising what they preach and working with volunteers and sharing and paying in kind before throwing money at the problem.

Hey matslats, this is very

Bill Eichman's picture

Hey matslats, this is very cool, I had no idea this line of questions would put me in contact with the only community forge distro developer. I'm
swamped at the moment, so I am posting to let you know I read your message and appreciate it. I don't know how deeply into detail I can go into it until I finish the jobs I am doing at the moment.

At some point I'd like to hear more about the processes you go thru to put that distro together.

One very simple thing that stopped the install of both the earlier distro and the most recent one, is that one specific module is required that is not included, and the install fails on that lack, and you have to go get that module, install it by ftp, and run the install again. The missing module is -- checking - Safer Permissions.

Not one I have used before.

To refresh my memory about the problems that followed I am going to have to do a fresh install of the distro. But, that should be fun, when i am a little less busy.

I just looked at the install now, and remembered there was some issue with the required theme, some apparent conflicts between modules that prevented certain functions from being turned on. The step by step guide seemed to be missing, and the FAQ, presumably because of the french to english translation, was a bit confusing.

But, this is memory, not notes, so, I'll do a fresh install and take notes as I do. I think a lot of this must be user experience stuff, the distro may work, it just is not obvious how to make it work.

Bill

In 2006 when I was asked to take over a drupal based website my first reaction was "This is crazy, who would build something like this?". I still feel that way, but I can not stop being obsessed with drupal. "Who's crazy now?", drupal prints on my monito

Bill saferpermissions wasn't

matslats's picture

Bill saferpermissions wasn't working for me so you can uncomment the line in cforge.info until I post a new version.
The step by step guide is scraped from a page which moved.
http://helpdesk.communityforge.net/en/step-by-step
Depending what you want to do, maybe we can host for you, or I can spend an hour helping with the install and publishing a new version of the distro. You can contact me via
https://www.drupal.org/user/140053

Community Weaver 2 Experience Thus Far

Tom Herrera's picture

Hallo all, new to Drupal and to CW2. This is some additional feedback for Bill Eichman and others working with the project in hopes of seeing a bit more momentum.

First off, very glad to find at least a moderately recent post on CW2 anywhere! I'm a sysadmin by profession, and took on the task of setting up a local copy of CW for a local group interested in timebanking and other community efforts.

I've followed the Action Hub install process on a local copy of D6 running under CentOS 6 and I've managed to get nearly everything working on the base install - except - the Marketplace/Give&Receive!

Given how central this is to the app I've been quite frustrated in my efforts to get it straightened out. Basically, the display is about as wonky as it could get - the nice, neat 3 column Taxonomy table I see on other sites is spread all over the page and Taxonomy Headings duplicate constantly. I'm not sure if this is a Views issue or a module version issue or what, but I really can't move forward until I find a way to fix this.

Any help would be appreciated, via post or PM. More than happy to provide any additional details required, of course. Perhaps there are others who are having the same problem and a solution posted here would benefit the larget CW community out there. Thanks in advance, o' course!

CWII to be replaced

matslats's picture

Hello Tom,
Much to the relief, lets hope, of the timebanking movement. CWII will soon be replaced by CWIII, which will not be in Drupal.
CWIII will be a custom-built open source application, for timebanks USA and hopefully other national timebanking orgs to host an array of timebanks. The design is including full participation of timebankers themselves. Of course there will be migration, but it might not apply for independently hosting timebanks.
Similarly, CES will be a multi-exchange setup in Drupal 8 designed for 800 existing sites, and the Australian timebanks
Presently groups who want hosted sites can approach either of those, or hOurworld, or Community Forge.
http://matslats.net/software-sharing-timebanking
If you, Tom want to host your own site, now, I strongly suggest my own D7 Hamlets package http://drupal.org/project/cforge, or an older php package Fourth Corner Exchange (sorry I don't have a link). The published CWII is likely to be out of date (Drupal 6) buggy, and completely unsupported.