In the past few years, there has been an discussion in various communities about the value of offering/having a community or cooperative platform and how we can own it. The idea of such a platform is central to what we are trying to accomplish here at CoLET and as such we have discussed it extensively. However, we have more questions than answers.
These questions include:
- What is meant when the word “platform” is used?
- Will/should one platform suffice for all the needs that we have?
- How many applications do we each use on a daily basis for our personal and organizational needs?
- If multiple applications, does that mean we need multiple platforms?
- How are these platforms sustainable? Meaning, are the people working on them able to meet their basic needs?
The questions could go on an on. But instead we want to outline in a bit more detail the hosted services and various applications we support and continue improving integration points between them, so as to provide a platform to support the needs you have with technical tools.
Our hosted services are built using open source software that has strong software community support. The software applications extend the features available, providing a series of tools to help you or your organization work in “the cloud” in the solidarity economy.
As of now the applications we are using to provide an online tools for your organization include:
- WordPress: web software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app.
- CiviCRM: a contact/constituent relationship management (CRM) software for non-profit and other civic-sector organizations.
- Piwik: web analytics platform, that gives every user full control of their data.
- NextCloud: file sharing, shared calendars, contact management, communication & more
As we evolve more could be added, but for now this is a healthy starting point.
Building the Ecosystem
Each of these applications provide a set of tools for you to connect on the cloud. However, integration between these applications is still very young and by providing a hosted service that works very specifically to support these tools we can focus on building integration points between applications so that the experience of using them is much more fluid.
Providing a hosted service requires many different areas of expertise and knowledge. The focus of these services, is to provide a suite of tools completely managed through the solidarity economy. In turn providing an alternative to the commercial applications we commonly use.
We are still working out the kinks and getting things setup. We hope you join us and in doing so provide us with the resources needed to continue working on enhancements while supporting your organizations needs in “the cloud”.