Community Updates November 2010
A | FOR HUMANS
1. NPO (vzw/asbl)
We are still starting a non-profit organization. Before we can start we need a to decide a lot of things. Here is what we have come up with, in a little interview
What is the NPO for?
The goal of the NPO is to support iRail so it can provide open transport data free from money or copyright issues. People who write clients upon the iRail API will be able to join the NPO for free. By doing that they become iRail themselves and thus have not to worry about any conflict with other corporations.
Who will be leading the NPO?
Yeri T, Christophe V and Pieter C.
Is there any task still open?
YES! Glad you ask! We need someone to take care of the finances. Any volunteer who'd like to do that?
Will members have to pay?
We will have 2 kind of members: Members who want to support or cause and pay a yearly fee (we agreed on 10€/month → 120€/year) and Members who contribute code. The latter don't pay a fee at all.
Spending: Not at this moment. We are a NPO and we do not intend to make money with the iRail API. Our goal is solely to make people use the data without anything standing in the way. We create a «free market» around this data. If you want to make a business around the iRail API, be our guest!
Receiving: We do at this moment. We are a NPO and we intend to receive from people who care that this project stays alive and kicking. For instance, it's very important if your business runs on our API that our API stays alive. So keep us well fed with a voluntary percentage of your gain. We use the money to organize developer meetings, to fund ourselves (yes, this is becoming an expensive hobby...), to buy servers, to buy github services and last but not least, promotion!
I would like to share our schedule before we go into a small winter-sleep. (50% of our team are students and students got examinations)
(note: this is a draft. It probably won't happen as drafted)
Week of 22/11:
- We will be pushing APIv1.0 (now on dev.api) to the api.iRail.be server.
Week of 29/11:
- Setting op blog.iRail.be and getting the word out - our community updates and recent news will appear in one central place.
- As last week we got ourselves a great JSONP-wrapper, we will now focus on an application suggested by Christophe Petit-Jean. We will make a widget which will be shown on a TV screen to be put in offices. If afterwards we help Christophe setting this up he might do a generous donation to the NPO.
- iGoogle widget release
First half of December:
- Testing phase of BeTrains for maemo, BeTrains alpha for bada and BeTrains for WP7.
Second half of December
- Release of BeTrains for WP7
- Release of BeTrains for maemo
- Release of BeTrains for bada
- Meeting: what will we do in February?
- support for buses! (depends on Van Quickenborne)
- iPhone app
- Qr-code campaign (more later)
- Social features on webclient: Share this app
- Take a share in iRail: the more people you refer to BeTrains/iRail the more % share you get in the iRail buzz-iness.
- Delay-tracker: track delays and make a guess for the future.
- Train-load warning: It's not pleasant to take the train to Ghent on a Sunday evening. Nor when people return from Werchter.
- And much more!
3. NMBS won't bother us anymore
But ... They won't help us either. Peter Dedecker (www.peterdedecker.eu) asked a question about iRail in the parliament to Inge Vervotte. It was slightly positive: they won't use lawyers to bother us anymore. Our comments about this are expressed over here:
The most important comment: Vervotte mentions that we should agree on some points with the NMBS before using the data. Our point is (still) that the NMBS does not own the data so they can't force us to accept certain conditions. We are however eager to talk to them about conditions at least if we knew what they were. We have never heard about one condition.
4. Help testing our applications!
Do you have a smartphone? I bet we have a native client! For android and maemo you can get testing executables.
For other platforms you can compile from source and test it if you feel adventurous:
- iphone: http://code.google.com/p/betrainsiphone/
- Symbian: https://github.com/iRail/BeTrains.Qt/
- Windows phone 7: https://github.com/dieterdp/BeTrains-for-Windows-Phone-7
- bada: https://github.com/iRail/BeTrains.Bada
- iGoogle-widget: https://github.com/iRail/iRailForGoogle
- General widget: https://github.com/iRail/Web
B | FOR DEVELOPERS
00. The iRail API
For those who haven't noticed, the dev API has gained some functions:
- liveboards - These are the schedules that you can see when you enter a station. Now you can also use them in json/xml/jsonp!
- vehicle - With this function you can get information about 1 specific vehicle: where is it going, when will it arrive in which station, ...
Changes/Additions in syntax:
- Now you can use id=BE.NMBS.123 for a station, instead of from/to/station=AALST
- Time is now fully iso 8601 compliant as seconds are added
- location="X Y" has changed into locationX="X" locationY="Y"
! These additions are currently only available in the dev.api.irail.be - They're almost ready for release. Take into account that you cannot use dev.api.irail.be for a stable release of your application since it might break often. For your stable release use the api.irail.be which will be updated soon.
01. The Github association
We have a github association page from now on. Access it through http://github.com/iRail (doesn't that look nice?)
This allows us to list all members working on a github repository. We can manage each user's right to commit on a certain branch. If you need more rights, just ping Yeri or Pieter.
10. BeTrains for X
- We need help on BeTrains for iPhone. At this moment we cannot outbetter the iphone app bought by the NMBS. We have to be more stable, faster, user-friendlier, ... Do you know someone who can code objective C? Refer him to us!
- Same for blackberry, except that we don't have any code yet. Do you want to code for blackberry? Do you know someone? Get in touch!
Don't rewrite code that we have written already. We have quite some wrappers listed on the github project page.