The idea of redesigning the official farmOS website has been kicking around for a while now, and with the approach of farmOS 2.0 and other pertinent needs, we’ve begun to talk more seriously about what we can do. But we can’t do it without the support of our community, so we’d like to hear your ideas and suggestions for how we can improve it.
We’ll be discussing these improvements in our next Monthly Call on October 14th, but we’d love to hear your feedback here as well. Below I’ve outlined our tentative plan for this development, as well as how we plan to fund it, but everything is up for discussion.
If you have a moment to read through the plan and leave a comment on what changes you’d like to see, what difficulties you may have faced with the current site, as well as your ideas on new community features we could build into this plan, it would be greatly appreciated.
I look forward to reading your comments!
There are 4 major milestones for the redesign:
- Migrate from MkDocs to Gatbsy (required before other milestones)
- Community features & content
- Technical Documentation
Only the first is required before any of the other work; everything else can happen independently and in a different order.
Migrate from MkDocs to Gatsby
This is a process I began on It’s My farmOS Day at the beginning of this year, but there’s still a good bit of work to be done. The idea is this will be sort of our MVP (“minimal viable product”) prior to embarking on other changes, which will rely on having a more robust Static Site Generator like Gatsby. More details on this in the GitHub issue.
Community features & content
This is the most exciting prospect to me, because we have a chance to rethink how community members participate in farmOS’s development and ultimate success. One way we’ve discussed this in the past is to breakdown
- Official Guide & Tutorials: These would be the core documents for folks to learn how to get started with farmOS and maintain their records on an ongoing basis. These would have the highest expections for quality and relevance to a general audience. They would also come with the expectation that they would be kept up-to-date with the most current version of farmOS and Field Kit, and that translations would be provided wherever possible. It’s worth noting that @kirsten_mc has been spearheading the creation of new tutorials, so I’d love to incorporate those efforts into this milestone and see that they are compensated for their contributions.
- Community Blog: This idea was proposed by @walt during It’s My farmOS! and I think has a lot of potential as an intermediary set of tutorials, recipes and stories, prepared by and for our users. They’d be “lightly curated”, as Walt puts it. Unlike the official guide, this content would be timestamped and not required to be updated, which I think gives a lot more latitude to focus on specific workflows and user scenarios that we can’t cover in the guide.
- Forum: (ie, this forum) This is the space for the most informal community discussion, questions, opinions, etc. This wouldn’t be hosted on the official site, but we’d of course want to prominently link to it, somewhere in the main nav.
There are some other ideas kicking around that we could try to implement, like a dedicated section for feature bounties, more translation work of the website itself, etc. But I’d really like to hear other folks’ thoughts on what might be helpful to users new and old, as well as ways in which we can bring the community closer together to achieve our shared goals and have a bit of fun along the way. So once again, please comment below with your ideas!
This would be an overhaul of the general look and feel of the site to reflect the robust, reliable and industry-tested suite of software that farmOS has become in recent years. The existing site has served us well as a repository for the user guide and other community resources, but we could go a lot further to enhance the perception of farmOS both as a software product and as a community.
An important aspect of any free and open source project is that anyone with the gumption should be encouraged to explore the code and modify and extend the software as they see fit. As the farmOS team becomes more and more engaged in the OpenTEAM initiative, this couldn’t be more important than it is now, in order to promote interoperability with other services and technologies.
The footprint of our codebase has also greatly expanded in the last couple years, with separate API’s for writing modules for both farmOS and Field Kit, as well as general API services for accessing farmOS servers and the Aggregator. Organizing the documentation for these diverse technologies into a single, coherent collection will be the top challenge of this milestone. Ultimately, though, if we’re successful in that effort, it should mean broader inclusion of partners and contributors to the farmOS ecosystem, and a greater range of services for farmOS users.
Of course these milestones will require the time and talent of developers and content creators, so we’d like to explore options for funding those efforts.
The Gatsby migration as well as the community features are the areas where I believe the community will benefit the most, so it seems ideal to crowdfund these milestones. Fortunately, we already have accrued a significant level of donations from our Open Collective, which I believe will cover the cost of the Gatsby migration at the very least, and probably a portion of the community features and content. Once we’ve assessed what other features and content we want to develop, we can launch a fundraising initiative to cover this additional development, perhaps with stretch goals to provide some flexibility.
The rebranding is an aspect I anticipate the community will benefit from to some degree as well, but as someone who gets a paycheck from farmOS development, I feel I stand to gain the most from other potential funders being attracted to the project in the future. I see this rebranding primarily as an investment in my own earning potential, so I’m happy to make this my contribution to the project.
As for the documentation work, I’m confident this can be funded through other channels.
Since a portion of this project will entail fund raising and the allocation of those funds, I believe its important to establish a policy of transparency about that process as well as some guidelines for how we can make important decisions collectively. This is where I’d most like to step aside and hear from other community members about what they expect in terms of governance, how best to be inclusive in this process and how to balance that with the practical goals of seeing this project to fruition. Again, let us know in the comments and/or join the Monthly Call on October 14th to let us know how you’d best like to see this project governed.