At long last Ushahidi team announced Ushahidi 2.0. The new platform, might just be the new dawn in the world of crisis management and humanitarianism. There are several new exciting features on the new platform, top of the ladder being the Plugin system. The system allows anyone to extend the capabilities of the platform.
“In computing, a plug-in is a set of software components that adds specific capabilities to a larger software application. If supported, plug-ins enable customizing the functionality of an application. For example, plug-ins are commonly used in web browsers to play video, scan for viruses, and display new file types. Well-known plug-ins examples are the Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat, QuickTime and Microsoft Office 2007″
With plugin system in place, the Ushahidi community of volunteer developers can now work and expand the capability of the platform while the core developers would focus on the application itself.
Some of the currently available plugins you can use to enhance Ushahidi deployment are Mobile Edition, Cloudemade, Analysis, SMSsync FrontlineSMS &Clicktel, Cloudvox Call-To-Report. You can get the real deal here
The new Features apart from the plugin system are:
New and Improved API
The API allows the developers to post or retrieve information from Ushahidi deployments. Yeah the API enables Ushahidi platform to interact with other applications. The good examples being Ushahidi mobile applications (iPhone, Android, j2me) . To make it better the team are upbeat that soon, the developers would be able to administer Ushahidi deployments through 3rd party applications via an Admin API.
Trying to Upgrade the Ushahidi deployments was like going to hell and back. Well now that would be a thing of the past. The system will now alert you to new version availability and give you the option to perform the one-click upgrade. The one-click upgrade will only be available for users of version 2.0. So first update yourself with new version before attempting the real upgrade tool. Get the manual upgrade Instructions here on this wiki entry. Once updated, you will be able to use the one-click upgrade mechanism for future versions.
Texting is sometime easier and fun for many people. For that there are many SMS providers around and it is great that Ushahidi 2.0 now allows you to add other SMS providers into the system via the Plugin API. SMS providers either provide a mechanism for filtering text messages into the system and/or sending messages from the system.
Trusted Reporter Functionality
Trust is not an easy thing to come by but there are people who at one time in life you can trust their judgment and what they say. During the time of crisis and due to the huge number of messages coming in, the administrator might get overwhelmed and unable to read through all of messages. With Ushahidi 2.0, it is now possible to tag certain phone numbers, email accounts or twitter users as ‘Trusted Reporters’ and their reports will be automatically approved by the system. Yes Ushahidi 2.0 is now a robot.
This needs to work and has to work. The original platform for the Ushahidi is in English but not every Tom Dick and Harry communicate in English. With increasing popularity and wide use around the world, the importance of easy localization of the language used on the deployment is anybody’s guess. Now there is a location on the web where you can help localize language packs for use on your deployment of the platform. Plus, already there are many languages added on the platform
Other Improvement on the new platform are; Improved Theming, Improved Reports Listing, Improved Scheduler and Improved Caching and speed