Future of new ODK web site?

One thing that was mentioned in the ODK Summit in Seattle was that a group was working on a new, refreshed public-facing web site for the project. That'd been on my mind for a while, so I was just curious:

  1. How far along is that, and is there any timing for its launch yet?
  2. Is any help needed? If so, what kind of skills would be useful?

Thanks in advance to those "in the know" :slight_smile:


Hi Michael,

Thanks for raising this! This was my action from the Summit and, due to work pressures, it's something that I've only just started to explore. I think the first step is to sketch out an outline of what the site could look like (main headings, sub-headings, suggested content) and then post this on the forum for feedback. I'm aiming to get around to this next week, but would always welcome another pair of hands!




Awesome @Calum, thanks! I'm pretty busy these next few weeks with work stuff, but is there anyone else that is (a) already thinking about web site stuff, or (b) interested in helping out?

:trophy: :star:

Hi @Calum and @downey

I am interested in helping.

@Calum we could make use/borrow from:



It might also be worth investigating a CMS to support the redesign, such as Django CMS or Wagtail.

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Hello everyone. The future state of the OpenDataKit.org web site has been on the radar of the Project Management Committee for a while, so we’re happy to see the responses on this topic so far, and the other interest expressed at the June convening and other channels.

What the PMC is proposing

We are hoping there’s enough interest in the community to set up a small “work team” of at least 3-5 people to help guide us toward a new web site strategy. Ideally, this group can be formed to take over management of the “work in progress” website described below, while enabling members of the broader community to help manage the website and make improvements through a peer-reviewed process.

The website is a great opportunity for non-coders to get involved in improving the ODK community through design and content updates! The PMC hopes that in our “post transition” world, as various transition and steering committees are being set up, those committees will provide clear direction & content ideas for the “website working group” to help implement.

We have ideas, but we need your help to make those ideas a reality!

A path forward for this idea

As part of its work toward the September 2017 transition deadline, UW-CSE prepared a temporary Drupal-powered website that could be considered as an “alpha” website, for continual improvements and changes powered by the collective ODK Community. The PMC discussed this temporary transitional site and agreed this site should be shared with you all to get your feedback on using it to start the ongoing process of website improvements.

This “alpha” site -- viewable at http://opendatakit-dev.cs.washington.edu -- helps us to achieve the following goals:

  • Helps UW meet its transition deadlines;
  • Brings the site up to date with basic information on the multiple improvement initiatives that are ongoing;
  • Moves the site to a more flexible platform that makes it easier for multiple people to propose and review content additions & changes; has lots of plugins for integrating with other technologies already in use by the ODK project (e.g., Discourse, GitHub)
  • Moves some content to the ODK Forum, such as help-for-hire, deployments, blog;
  • Addresses some pain-points related to releasing software binaries on the current website; and
  • Creates a work in progress starting point that community members can collaboratively begin to move forward with a peer-review process.

Why do this now?

Improvements to the web site have been on our TODO list for the “post UW transition” for some time, but other excellent ODK community improvement work has taken priority. As a result, collective focus on other ODK initiatives has left the current website a little out of date. Additionally, other ODK improvement initiatives that are in-progress, once finalized, could influence the design of ODK website.

Unfortunately, some of these new ODK initiatives are a multi-step processes that require other infrastructure to be in place first. Examples of new initiatives that may influence the content and design of the “new” website include:

  1. Decisions are still pending about the best way to host ODK binaries that will replace the existing downloads page.
  2. Discussions are underway about ODK branding. See Website re-design and branding and Who gets to use the ODK name? and Develop a new logo for examples.
  3. Nafundi is helping to coordinate a community effort to revise ODK 1.x tool suite documentation at http://docs.opendatakit.org/ and UW is working to revise and update the ODK 2.x tool suite documentation.
  4. The “help for hire” page, “deployments” page, and maybe the blog content, might be transferred to the ODK Forum.

Unlike the “one time transition” from Google Groups to Discourse, we view the new web site as a starting point -- a “work in progress” -- that can empower the entire community to create & share content to highlight our collective work on ODK.

There are many changes ongoing in the ODK community right now, and we believe it’s best to move the website forward to at least match current initiatives, while giving time for the community to come together under a new management structure. Once the various transition and steering committees are in place, those committees can decide what they’d like the final form of the website to be. (This is tentatively planned to happen in early 2018.)

Why Drupal?

A major advantage to Drupal is its workbench plugin, which allows for collaborative editing, reviewing, and approving of updates to already published webpages based on user permissions. "Editors" can create a revised draft of a page and submit their changes for review while "Moderators" can review those changes and publish them if they choose or send them back to draft status. The draft's changes are tracked, and multiple Editors and Moderators can collaboratively make changes back and forth until a publishable state is reached. This workflow better matches an open source model, such as GitHub’s pull request model, so current software contributors will be familiar with the process.

Drupal also has a fine grain user permission to limited access to appropriate sections of website content, instead of being forced to grant someone full access to the entire site. (It’s similar to the different permissions given to different repositories on ODK’s GitHub account). If people are interested, Drupal also has plugins to integrate with Discourse logins and other Discourse features to further integrate ODK’s community infrastructure. Or alternatively, it could integrate with GitHub logins.

In short, there are lots of great reasons to consider Drupal, all of which can help us now, and in the future as the ODK community grows.


The PMC is seeking feedback from all of you about moving to the “alpha” transitional website. It is possible that the new ODK leadership structure may want to suggest new changes to the website, but such changes, if at all, are likely to not happen soon (more information about the leadership transition will be announced soon!).

The ‘alpha’ website should not be viewed as a final choice of design or technology, simply a starting point to move things forward and bring things a bit more up to date. Once the various transition and steering committees are in place, those committees can decide what they’d like the final form of the website to be (hopefully in 2018.)

Ultimately, our hope is that this initial updated ‘alpha’ website will make it easier for collaboratively tracking changes and getting approval from other community members and will include updates to better support the community initiatives that already underway.

What do you think? Do you agree with this proposal? Do you have concerns? Please continue commenting here with your feedback.

Also are you interested in joining a 3 to 5 person website working group?

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Is the beta site running Drupal 8?

Thanks for putting this together, Waylon. I'd be keen to be part of the work-team.


Whatever Drupal version the working group wants to use in should be fine and it should not be a problem to switch. As this is only an 'alpha'/work-in-progress website to help get the ball rolling.

Currently, the work-in-progress/'alpha' site is running Drupal 7. The choice was made simply because the person who setup the 'alpha' site was more familiar with 7 than 8. When briefly discussed it didn't seem to matter since there are automated upgrade paths to 8.

As stated on the Drupal website (https://www.drupal.org/docs/8/upgrade/upgrading-from-drupal-6-or-7-to-drupal-8) it is easy to migrate to Drupal 8 from 7 because Drupal 8 core includes migration modules designed to automatically handle the task.

@W_Brunette I would like to join the working group! I have a few tough weeks at the moment but I hope that later is more calm to be able to collaborate more actively. Thanks for this proposal!


Thanks for taking the lead on this proposal, Waylon!

My primary concern with the proposal is that the "alpha" website combines a number of changes that I think should be made separately. The ideal ODK website will require an infrastructure change (neutral hosting home), a platform change (probably not Wordpress), a change in content, and a change in visual design.

The alpha website combines those things together and I think that will cause real problems for users. I'm particularly worried about deprecation of content and notion that there will be two transitions (one to an alpha site, and then one to whatever the governance committees decides). It's going to be jarring.

A website working group is a fantastic idea. And what I'd strongly prefer is a group whose mandate is to first evaluate what content should be on the ODK website and where the existing content should be migrated to. Getting community consensus on that high-level vision and goal will inform the rest of the changes to infrastructure, platform, and design, and I strongly believe we should do that first before any moves happen.

I am glad to participate in (but not lead) the working group. I am also glad to migrate the current website of UW infrastructure and pay for neutral hosting to allow the community time to decide on an approach.


I'd be happy to participate in a working group.


I was chatting with a friend about ODK's evaluation of Drupal for a new site, and an interesting question/possibility came up:

While the technical details get worked out by this group, could the existing site just be picked up and dropped somewhere else in the very-short term? (This conversation was assuming that the existing server is going away, which I wasn't clear on from this message.)

Just a thought. I would love to volunteer to help with this group, but probably don't have enough bandwidth to do so -- however, still happy to provide advice here and there when I can. :slight_smile:

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I am happy to participate in the working group.


The current site is backed by WordPress and it should be straightforward to export the data and move it.

I would also be interested in participating in this website working group. I have a particular interest in the ODK 2.0 documentation, since there has been some confusion on the forum.

I realize this thread has been dormant for a while, my apologies.

After much discussion, the PMC has decided to move forward with the replacement of the ODK website during its December 12 meeting. The website has become out of date and some functional content has already been shifted away from the current website (e.g., docs.opendatakit.org, new entries for the “help for hire” page and blog content are now on ODK Forum). Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the new docs site and the ODK forum!

As stated previously in this thread, as part of its work toward the September 2017 transition deadline, UW-CSE prepared a working Drupal-powered website that could go live as an “alpha” website giving the ODK community a starting point to establish a website update process. The September 2017 transition deadline has now passed and a few extra months have also rolled by.

While the PMC has not reached an agreement on what the final form of the website should be, the outcome so far is the PMC would like: 1) the website replaced quickly and 2) the community involved. The PMC is hoping to start a website working group for the long term, but first the PMC would like to hold a meeting to hear from people who want to volunteer to be part of the working group. The aim is to gather the working group’s feedback so it can be incorporated into short term planning and decision making. The two options the PMC discussed at the meeting were either moving directly to a static-content site in January or starting with the Drupal site and letting the community take a longer time to migrate to a CMS or static-content site. The discussed target for the website switch is sometime in January.

The PMC realizes it is a busy time of year with the holidays, but the PMC would like to start gathering community input from potential community members who want to be involved in the website transition and are willing to participate in a website working group. Particularly, the PMC would like to gain insight into what their feelings/preferences are for platforms, time availability, thoughts on a one or two step transition, etc.

If you are interested in participating in the website working group please indicate times in the poll you could join a call. The thread will be updated late on Friday, December 15th with the official meeting time that worked for the majority of the people.

0 voters

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We also realize that you might want to join the website working group but are completely unavailable on December 18th or December 19th. If this is the case, please like this post and we will follow-up with you around the beginning of January (or earlier).

Thanks for putting together a call, @W_Brunette!

I've been jotting down some general website notes as they come up to clarify my own thinking (like when @Ronald_Munjoma shared that interesting post about the Python website redesign). I thought it might be useful to share -- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aBg43Kw3BnuiNhSujrOQ2itz-BluhBSnXQvXs1jDNhI/edit

Anyone can edit! Perhaps writing out some thoughts ahead of time could help capture ideas from some folks who may not be able to join the call while also helping keep our talk time focused.


Thank you to everyone who voted with such short notice! The PMC realizes it is a busy time of year so thank you for your quick responses. There were votes for adding more times; however, no suggestions were made on when to add an additional time slot so none got added.

The winning time for the call is :fireworks::tada::confetti_ball: Monday, December 18th 15:00 UTC (7am PST) convert to your local time :tada::confetti_ball::sparkler:

We will be using Open Data Kit’s Uber Conference system:
Link: https://www.uberconference.com/opendatakit

The goal of the call is to gather information and opinions for ODK’s Project Management Committee (PMC) from people who are willing to volunteer to be part of a website working group :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:. Topics will include:

  • Who is interested in a joining a website working group and what kind of time availability and commitment can people make in the short-term and long-term. (People will be busy with other things at different times)
  • Thoughts on how to facilitate launching a revised website in January.
  • Experiences/Feelings/Preferences for different web platforms.
  • Preferences between a CMS (content management system) website or a static-content website.
  • Thoughts on starting with the Drupal site and letting the community take a longer time to migrate to a CMS or static-content site.
  • Thoughts on moving directly to a static-content site in January

Unfortunately :sob:, there was not a common time that worked for everyone. Therefore, I think it’s important :thinking: to hold a second call to ensure that everyone in the community receives a chance to volunteer, share their opinion, and provide information. After the conclusion of the first call I will post a second poll to find a time for a second call. The call’s agenda will be the same for both calls. Preference on picking the second call’s time will be given to an individual’s schedule who 1) filled out the first poll but was unable to make the first call, and 2) people who have expressed interest on joining a website working group previously on this thread.