Google Summer of Code 2013 Ideas

 

Get Stoked - End Poverty. One Line of Code at a Time.

We've selected our students. Please welcome Anuruddha Premalal, wuyannaN (Unlicensed), Andreas Weigel (Unlicensed), and Avik Ganguly as our 2013 Google Summer of Code class of interns. The Community Bonding Period is on until coding starts in June!

 

2013 Summer of Code Students & Their Projects

Student

Project

Location

Time Zone

GSOC 2013 - Server side pagination and Sorting and Multi-tenant Caching

Sri Lanka

SLT (GMT +5:30)

XBRL Reporting Integration

China

CST (GMT +8:00)

User-Generated Documents (Admin Docs)

Germany

CET (GMT +1:00)

Data Import Tool

India

IST (GMT +5:30)

 

This is the third year that Mifos will be participating in Google Summer of Code. Over the years, we've brought on some amazing contributors who are joining in our movement to fight poverty through open source software.  We want you to be part of our mission of creating a world of 3 Billion Maries.  

2013 is an exciting time for our initiative as Summer of Code participants will have their first opportunity to contribute to the brand new Mifos X platform - we have completely rewritten Mifos from scratch and now have a true platform for our community to extend. The front-end is completely separate from the back-end with all the core back-end services cleanly exposed through an API so applications and modules can be built on the platform. 

What is Mifos

What is Mifos X?

When is the GSoC?

Watch how Mifos technology is helping end world poverty

Guidelines

  • Getting started Read about setting up the code and understand the basic concepts around MifosX.

Expectations

Students working on Mifos X will be expected to:

Prerequisite Skills

Basics

  • Quick learner
  • Troubleshooting Wizard
  • Passion for writing beautiful code
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Knowledge of developer tools
    • such as: a text editor, source control, how to build software
    • experience with specific tools will also help, such as: Eclipse IDE, Git

Mifos includes wide variety of technologies, we do not expect a student to be expert on all of these. But it will be helpful if you have some experience in some of these.

Helpful skills: (specific technology requirements vary with project chosen)

  • MySQL,Jersey, Hibernate, Spring,
  • HTML, CSS,  JavaScript (JQuery)
  • JUnit, REST-assured

Hints

  • When you need help, ask for help! Do some searches before asking, please. We are very excited for you to join us, but we need to know that you're willing to put in the time and effort required to do your part. When you do ask, ask well.
  • Not sure if you are qualified? Download and build the code, then run the Platform and the reference user interface. Instructions for doing so are available at Getting started - Contributing to MifosX.
  • Email the mifos-developer mailing list with your questions and project ideas.
  • Install Skype for (generally infrequent) video calls. You'll need a headset for Skype, too.

Mentoring

Mifos folks are constantly working remotely (mainly using Skype), especially in supporting remote contributors. We often do video calls and desktop sharing If possible, we'd love to meet you in person! Specific mentors for each project will be listed below.

Mentor

Project

Location

Time Zone

 

India

IST (GMT +5:30)

 

Switzerland

CET (GMT +1:00)

 

Ghana

GMT

 

India

IST (GMT +5:30)

 IndiaIST (GMT +5:30)

Project Ideas

All 2013 projects will be on the new Mifos X platform, this the brand new version of the Mifos software that we launched in 2012. Mifos X is a true platform in which the back-end is cleanly separated from the front-end and all core platform services are exposed through an API making it easy develop new applications on top of the Mifos X platform. 

This was our initial ideas list. We welcome volunteers or other contributors to work on projects that were not selected for implementation as part of Google Summer of Code

Automated Maintenance of API Documentation

Mentors Vishwas Babu A J
Overview & Objectives This project focuses on simplifying/automating the maintenance of the Mifos X API documentation (https://demo.openmf.org/api-docs/apiLive.htm) and ensuring it is complete:
  • Ensure that all REST services are included and to the standard required in the documentation.
  • Automate maintenance of documentation so it must be in sync with code base and can 'alarm' us if not complete.
Description

The API is probably the most important part of the new Mifos X platform and that's why we put a ton of effort into making it easier for developers to see examples and interact with.  It's certainly not 'passive' documentation and must be interactive and up to date such that our community can see the flexibility and power in which the API can be used to support new financial services or support alternative way for accessing the Mifos technology. 


However, its currently a manual process that is a bit of a pain to complete and because of that our current documentation can become out of date. 
Helpful Skills 
ImpactWorldwide, there are multitudes of methodologies and delivery channels in which to deliver financial services to the poor. On the platform through the API, our community has the ability to build applications to allow Mifos to support new markets and scale more services to the poor in need. Our community is global and of varying skillsets, so it's critical that the API is well-documented and constantly up to date with clear examples. This project will significantly reduce the burden of maintaining this documentation.  
Other Resources 

Server-Side Pagination and Sorting

 

MentorsUdaiU (Unlicensed)
Overview & ObjectivesThis project focuses on adding support for server side pagination and sorting to the MifosX platform and the reference user interface
Description
  • Adding pagination and sorting capabilities to the REST API's exposed by the MifosX platform MIFOSX-173 Getting issue details... STATUS
  • Update the reference User Interface to consume the same MIFOSX-174 Getting issue details... STATUS
Helpful Skills Java (Spring, Jersey) , HTML and Javascript (JQuery)
Impact

Worldwide, there are multitudes of methodologies and delivery channels which deliver financial services to the poor. On the platform through the API, our community has the ability to build applications to allow Mifos to support new markets and scale more services to the poor in need.

For large financial institutions, it is imperative that server side pagination and sorting are supported so that they can build scalable applications on top of the Mifos X platform

Other Resources

  MIFOSX-173 Getting issue details... STATUS MIFOSX-174 Getting issue details... STATUS

Multi-tenant Caching

 

MentorsVishwas Babu A J
Overview & ObjectivesEnable service level caching using a clustered caching framework to improve the performance of MifosX
Description

MifosX is a multi-tenant application (a single MifosX instance can support multiple MFI's).We need to add tenant aware caching for common read operation in MifosX (preferably at the service level)

Note: For pure Read operations, Mifos X uses native SQL Queries with Spring's JDBC Template. JPA (the provider being Hibernate) is used for Create/Update operations

Helpful Skills Java (Spring) , SQL and MySQL
ImpactWhile the current codebase works well for smaller financial organizations, adding caching would greatly improve the performance of MifosX when working with the data sets of larger MFI's
Other Resources  MIFOSX-259 Getting issue details... STATUS

Simplify "Data Tables" functionality 

 

MentorsGurpreet Luthra (Unlicensed)
Overview & Objectives

Capturing surveys and other forms of data is an essential tool for a MFI to manage it's client relationship. Mifos X currently has taken a new approach to capturing this information and any additional data on clienta (and other entities like Groups, Loans etc) through the "datatables" approach. This project aims to simplify the process for setting up the same.

 

Description

Mifos X provides an API called 'datatables" which allows the IT team that is deploying Mifos X to 

  1. Create a MySql Table(s) following Mifos X Non Core column conventions
  2. Register that MySql table with a 'Core' Mifos X MySql table
  3. Immediately be able to Create, Read, Update and Delete data in the reference User Interface.

We are looking to simplify this process by

a) Providing API's for creating these MYSQL tables

b) Updating the Reference User Interface to leverage the API's for creating the "MySQL" tables and columns.

This would enable a non Technical end user to Configure 'datatables' functionality in MifosX

Helpful Skills Java (Spring/JPA/Jersey), SQL , MySQL
Impact

Capturing client data and having a holistic transparent view into the client is one of the most powerful and definitive features of Mifos X. This data is used to monitor and analyze the services being delivered to the client and social impact these services are having.

Having a simple interface in which to define this additional "Survey" data is an essential part of making this a usable feature of the software for MFIs.

Other Resources

Mifos X - Plugging In Non-Core and User Defined Data

 

User Generated Documents

 

MentorsUdaiU (Unlicensed)
Overview & Objectives

MFI’s typically generate client-facing documents (whose format varies from MFI to MFI) from their MIS. These documents mostly include simple Client (Client registration documents) and Loan (Loan Contracts, Passbooks etc.) documents.

This project aims to enable non technical end users to create well formatted reports.

Description

A Brief overview of the desired functionality is as follows:

1) a rich text editor on the Reference Client, which can be used by a user to create wysiwyg designs and upload them against various entities at different stages in their Life-cycle ( Ex: An "active" Client, A Loan "Pending disbursal" etc)
2) Expose a set of context sensitive keywords like ${clientName}, ${loanIdentifier} through the API, which he can add as placeholders in these documents.
Ex: An active Client could have a list of permissible keywords like "clientName","address","age","joining date" etc
An active Loan could have a list of permissible keywords like "disbursalDate", "amount", "principalRepaid", "interestRepaid", "lastRepaymentDate", "lastRepaymentAmount"
3) Java parser at the Server side or a Javascript parser at the client side would intelligently replace these placeholders with appropriate content and generate HTML reports

(Would also need API's to be exposed from the platform)

4) The next step would be to add in advanced controls like loops etc so that we can generate content like pass books with all repayments within a specified period etc

Refer Draft Specs for User Generated Documents for an initial approach for developing this functionality

Helpful SkillsJava (Spring, Jersey, JPA) and Javascript (JQuery)
Impact

One of the biggest challenges for non Technical users in Using Mifos (MifosX) would be in finding local specialists to help them in designing simple client facing reports and documents (like Loan Contracts etc). Often, small organizations would not be able to afford the services of specialists and would have to make do without any custom documents

This project would enable non Technical End users to create these simple reports using Context Sensitive placeholders and Rich Text Editors, thereby drastically increasing the usability of MifosX.

Other Resources

Draft Specs for User Generated Documents MIFOSX-117 Getting issue details... STATUS

Create Data Import Tool

MentorsVishwas Babu A J
Overview & Objectives

Create a tool for importing the following data into Mifos X using existing REST API's exposed by the platform 

  • Client Details
  • Client Loan and Saving account details
  • Client Fee Details
  • Client repayment History

Bonus: Center / Group details and Personnel Details

Description

One of the biggest challenges of implementing and using an information system for microfinance is getting data in efficiently. This project would lead the creation of excel or csv-based data import tools for both migration initial data into Mifos as well as bulk imports of data on an ongoing basis such as new clients, new loans, bulk transactional data, etc.

This tool would also help facilitate the migrations from our current software, Mifos 2.6, to our next generation platform, Mifos X.

Refer MIFOSX-120 Getting issue details... STATUS for additional details

Helpful SkillsJava (Spring), Excel
Impact

Efficiency and lowering operational costs is a critical factor in bringing effective financial inclusion to the poor. Migrating in historical data quickly is important to quick adoption of an information system.

Day to day, MFIs could save time by being being able import and edit clients and transactions in bulk. Secondly, this tool will also address connectivity issues as MFIs often input transactions into spreadsheets and then need to import these in. MFIs also often interact with other systems and payment networks and this tool with ease the ability to get that data in cleanly and quickly into Mifos X.

Other Resources

MIFOSX-120 Getting issue details... STATUS

Business Analytics (OLAP) 


 

Mentors KojoG
Overview & Objectives

Develop ETL scripts to create OLAP cubes (fact and dimension tables in MySQL). This will allow managers to perform ad hoc slicing and dicing of their data 
to answer important questions about their operations.

  • Create ETL scripts and tests
  • Create a Mondrian schema to work with Saiku Analytics
Description

 

Helpful SkillsDatabase Management Systems, MDX, SQL,
ImpactData drives a microfinance institution - the more powerful and robust analytical tools management has, the better they can tailor their services and outreach to impact the poor most effectively.
Other ResourcesSaiku Analytics Demo - demo.analytical-labs.com
Wikipedia OLAP Article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olap
Introduction to OLAP - http://www.db-class.org/course/video/preview_list
Gentle Introduction to MDX - http://www.iccube.com/support/documentation/mdx_tutorial/gentle_introduction.html

Self-contained package incl. Embedded Database (refresh for Mifos X)


MentorsMichael Vorburger
Overview & Objectives

Mifos uses MySQL 5.1 as its primary database. We want to achieve :

  • Possibility of Mifos self-contained demo package
  • Simple / easy launch of integration/acceptance testing, without requiring an external DB (ideally in an automatically created RAM Disk...)
  • Development without manual MySQL installation
Description

This sub-project would port / apply our MIFOS-5157 Installer-free simple launcher from classic Mifos to Mifos X, and then look at how to extend such a package to run without any existing external database as planned in MIFOS-4926 (which MIFOS-5157 doesn't cover). The first thought that comes to mind is to achieve this with a pure-Java in-memory database such as H2 or Derby. However, in order to avoid maintaining & supporting 2 different databases for Mifos, we'd like to base this on https://github.com/vorburger/MariaDB4j. While we are at it, we should also replace the classic GPL mysql driver by the LGPL MariaDB Client Library.

Do some Googling, Search Mifos JIRA, mailing list for more information. Identify some small problems related to this project and submit patch (if possible), Come up with a good plan and start a discussion on developer mailing list.

Mifos has abstraction from underlying database using:

  • Hibernate as ORM (must have good experience with Hibernate)
  • Liquibase as Database refactoring tool
  • DbUnit as test dataset maintenance
Helpful Skills 
Impact

For many microfinance institutions who lack technical skills, installing Mifos X is a burden that prevents them from using this software to more efficiently serve the poor. Often they get lost in the installation process when having to separately install java, their web server, MySQL, and then deploy Mifos. A self-contained package acting as a simple one-step installer for Mifos would help make the software more accessible to more organizations and allow for MFI to more easily test the software and see the immense value it provides.

Other Resources

 

XBRL Reporting Integration

MentorsKojoG
Overview & Objectives

Enable MFIs to automatically generate XBRL format reports - the common reporting standard being adopted by the microfinance industry.

  • Generate necessary XBRL format reports corresponding to MIX taxonomy
  • Create external client needed to map data to this taxonomy. 
Description

XBRL is gradually being adopted as the reporting and data standard for microfinance.  This project would involve building out the reports to generate in the necessary XBRL-compliant format as well as an external client needed to map the data in Mifos to the proper XBRL taxonomy.  MIX Market is leading adoption of XBRL as a data standard. By having one common reporting format, MFIs can save substantial time in generating end of period reporting to funders, regulators, associations, etc. 

Helpful SkillsHTML, XML,  SQL, Pentaho
ImpactMFIs need capital to lend out to their clients. In order for more MFIs to grow and provide more responsible financial services to the poor, they must be able to transparently report to funders and regulators. Adoption of a common reporting format and automation of flow of data will allow MFIs to successfully report their financial, operational and social performance using less of the valuable time of management staff to generate these reports. As well-run, fully transparent, microfinance institutions, they'll then have more readily available access to the funders and sources of capital to expand financial inclusion in their region.
Resources

Outbound SMS Integration

MentorsGurpreet Luthra (Unlicensed) (plus Michael Vorburger, as needed)
Overview & Objectives

MFIs have requested the ability for both inbound and outbound SMS communication. This project will focus on outbound notifications, MFIs would like to be able to send out meeting notifications, payment reminders, or other messages. Sending SMS receipts is another important use case that would increase security for both the client and MFI. We will first focus on the simplest use case of sending out an SMS message from the View Client Screen.

Outbound SMS integration could be done via integration through the Cloud API of an SMS service like Nexmo or Twilio or any other SMS service - MIFOSX-119 Getting issue details... STATUS

This project could also look at integration with FrontlineSMS. Integration with FrontlineSMS would offer up a wide array of possible use cases including SMS forms, better management of contacts and more.

Description

Currently Mifos and the client and portfolio data it contains is only accessed by the staff of the MFI. However, the majority of clients served by MFIs own mobile phones. A simple yet powerful way for them to interact with the data in Mifos is via SMS. MFIs have requested the ability for both inbound and outbound SMS communication to send notifications to their clients and to enable clients to retrieve information about their accounts. When living on less than $2/day, this simple yet timely interaction with their financial accounts is extremely important.

Helpful Skills 
Impact

When you're living on less than $2/day as many of the microfinance clients are, income often has a volatile flow with many peaks and valleys leading to difficult financial management and a challenge in ensuring smooth consumption flows. Visibility into their limited financial resources is critical. SMS allows staff to more frequently communicate important information to their clients. It gives the clients the security and piece of mind to know how much they have in their savings account or how much they owe on their loan - vitally important pieces of information when trying to live on low yet volatile income streams

Other Resources

Random Hacks of Kindness Problem Page

Client Scoring Modules

MentorsUdaiU (Unlicensed)
Overview & Objectives

Create Client Scoring Tools in Mifos X

Objectives: 

  • Based on user requirements, develop algorithms and scoring parameters in Pentaho to create this scoring module. 
Description

MFIs using Mifos often want to implement a credit scoring/client prospecting analysis tool to help automate the onboarding process for new clients by creating quantifiable measures to assess credit worthinesss. More and more MFIs are moving towards individual lending models where this scoring will be of greater need. Using our Data Tables (Surveys) module and our Mifos Business Intelligence Suite on Pentaho, they can set up questions and define parameters/scores to assess these questions.

Mifos X is more optmized for individual lending so client scoring tools become all the more valuable with the rich client data that an MFI is able to track in the system.

Helpful Skills 
Impact

Minimizing risk is important for running a sustainable microfinance institution. More importantly, many of these client scoring tools go beyond financial and business performance by analyzing social indicators to provide a quantifiable metric at the social impact made on a client. Having tools to capture these data and properly score/analyze it allow MFIs to deliver the strongest and most beneficial services to their clients.

Other Resources

See:

Custom Fantastic Mifos Project

Is there something missing from this ideas list that you want to do? Let us know! Send your project proposal(s) to the developer mailing list.


Timeline

Official GSoC 2013 timeline

See also