If You Want to Get Into OSS, Consider This Project

AllReady is an in-production piece of software build on ASP.NET Core that helps to alleviate the challenges of planning disaster-preparedness campaigns, co-ordinating volunteers and executing activities at scale. There are tasks for all levels of developers, designers and folks with expertise in humanitarian relief efforts.

HTBox's AllReady Application

The tech stack is awesome, next-gen and constantly under refinement. It’s a blast to work on and you’ll get input directly from industry leaders, Microsoft MVPs and at times from members of the ASP.NET team from Redmond.

This is what we’re building on:

  • Visual Studio 2015
  • ASP.NET Core, Core MVC and Core Web API
  • Azure Web Apps (Sites and Jobs)
  • Azure Storage (Tables and Queues)
  • AutoFac as the IoC container
  • MediatR for messaging & pub/sub provider
  • Entity Framework 7
  • GitHub and AppVeyor
  • SendGrid and Twilio
  • xUnit for testing

That’s cool stuff. And here’s a little bit more about the software’s intent from the website:

Preparedness campaigns are powered by neighbors helping neighbors and volunteers who give their time to strengthen their communities. allReady allows campaign coordinators to engage, contact and connect volunteers with the that need to be delivered.

Working for the Greater Good with Code

For me, this has been an incredible opportunity to really make a difference doing something that I am good at. When I’ve been involved in other efforts, it’s always meant putting down my toolkit and the skills I have as a software developer in order to help in other ways. And that’s been great! But as a contributor to AllReady, I get the opportunity to help build software that will help people, that can strengthen communities and make a difference in a meaningful way.

Our Weekly Standup - This Time During the Global Code-A-Thon

The Humanitarian Toolbox

Also known as HTBox, The Humanitarian Toolbox is a registered charity unlike most others. Rather than accepting donations to find a cure for a disease or support operating costs, HTBox uses its funds alongside volunteer efforts from the development community and input from internationally recognized leaders in humanitarian efforts. They do this to hone in on two different types of expertise:

  1. Software architecture, engineering and development
  2. Operational expertise in humanitarian works

Heads Down in Redmond at the November 2015 Code-A-Thon

Their mission is to build open source software, freely available to any organization that can leverage it in order to relieve poverty, assist in crisis management and even save lives. HTBox operates on the following principle:

The Next Big Storm is a Coding Challenge. We are developers, designers, testers, and industry professionals who want to contribute our unique skills in disaster relief aid. Whether it is through creating apps that map the spread of disease or maintaining software that helps to optimize the delivery of relief supplies, Humanitarian Toolbox has a goal of creating software and programs for relief organizations to have ready in times of need.

That’s a pretty lofty goal. So how are they going to get there?

What’s Been Done So Far

The Last Month's Pulse on AllReady

Considering this incarnation of the project has only been around for less than a year with no paid staff, these are some pretty impressive stats:

  • 1209 Commits to the repository
  • 228 Closed issues
  • 290 Closed pull requests
  • 42 Contributors

Retrospective after the Code-A-Thon in Redmond, Hosted by Microsoft

Most of this work has been accomplished by planting seeds at code-a-thons where developers get aquainted with the the project and the process. Most recently we organized a truly global effort when over 40 developers from 5 countries jumped in on one day to party on the code and complete features that were needed by the inaugural organization that is using the software.

Speaking of which, this is no small beans application: the American Red Cross is on board with the AllReady project providing leadership, testers and users through pilot programs in Chicago.

Next Steps

If you have been looking into working in open source, I highly recommend considering AllReady as a place to get started, even to settle in on.

Here are some links to get you started:

Happy coding!