Apache Fineract Graduates to Top-Level Project

Over the past year, our entire developer community has transitioned to and worked towards becoming a top-level project of the Apache Software Foundation.  It’s with great pleasure that we can announce that Apache Fineract has now formally graduated from incubation into a top-level project.

Contributing Mifos X to the Apache Software Foundation was a giant step for the maturity and evolution of our project. Becoming a top-level project marks an important transformation to grow our developer community and  achieve our long-term vision of establishing an open standard for financial inclusion innovation.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the press release. Please visit the Apache Software Foundation blog for the full announcement:

“In many ways Fineract broke new grounds as an Incubating project at the ASF,” said Roman Shaposhnik, Apache Fineract Incubator Mentor, Director of Open Source Strategy at Pivotal and Vice President Technology for ODPi at Linux Foundation. It was the first project that was originally developed by a non-profit: Mifos Initiative. It was the first project with an extremely important social agenda in mind: speed up the elimination of poverty. It was the first project that fully embraced the next generation microservices architecture. But there’s one thing that gets me even more excited: how quickly the Fineract community embraced ‘The Apache Way’ of project governance. They truly made my job as a mentor smooth sailing and I wish them to grow by leaps and bounds now that they are a TLP at the ASF.”

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Google Summer of Code 2017 – End Poverty. One Line of Code at a Time.

gsoc2016-sun-373x373This summer you’ll have the ability to change lives – three billion of them – one line of code at a time. The Mifos Initiative will be participating in Google Summer of Code for the sixth time. Mifos X is an open source technology platform power by Apache Fineract for enabling financial inclusion to the poor. Google Summer of Code is a global program sponsored by Google that offers students stipends to write code for open source projects.  Students accepted to the program will spend their summers coding from May 30 to August 29th and upon successful evaluation, receive a stipend provided by Google. For full details on GSoC, read the FAQ and browse the program timeline – student applications are open from now through April 03! You can apply from our organization page.

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2016 Google Code-In Wrap-up

We had the honor of participating in Google Code-In for the second time this year. Google Code-In is Google’s program to introduce pre-university students to the world of open-source by working on a range of bite-sized (3-5 hour-long) tasks including coding, outreach/research, documentation/training, user interface, and quality assurance.  

In this year’s program, 1,340 students from 62 countries completed 6,418 tasks mentored by 17 different open source organizations. We worked with 34 students who completed 159 tasks. Participation was a bit lower than during our first year in 2014 but we still received many valuable contributions and most importantly made a lasting impact on students by showing them what it’s like to work on an open source project. Read on to learn more about our five finalists and their GCI experiences. 

Coding contributions included enhancements and bug fixes to both our Mifos X web app and Mifos Android Field Officer app. For our documentation, students helped to create training slides, record video tutorials, improve technical docs on our wiki, and update screenshots throughout our user manuals. As we push further into new geographies and pioneer new fintech innovation, the dozens of country market research briefs on financial inclusion and fintech will be immensely valuable. Students even got to try their hand at design by creating wireframes and mockups for our website and mobile self-service app.

Thank you to all the students who participated, thank you to the Google Open Source Programs staff for administering the program and thank you to all our mentors including several new community members. Our mentors this year were Shreyank, Gaurav, Rajan, Prathmesh, Adi, Nikhil, Nayan, Tarun, Mayank, Mohit, Nazeer, Santosh, Simmi, Daniel, and Saransh. Tarun, Mayank, and Rajan were an especially big help with the mobile development tasks we had available.

Read on below for a brief glimpse into our 5 finalists. Our 2 grand prize winners will be going to the Google campus along with their parents for four days in June. They will be joined by one of our mentors. So stay tuned later this summer for a recap of this fun event and amazing rewards for all these students.

gci-map

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Infrastructure: Mifos X vs. Apache Fineract

As we’ve made the transition to moving development over to our Apache Fineract community, we have added some additional layers of complexity and confusion. We now have multiple mailing lists, multiple issue trackers, and multiple source code repositories. We’ve tried to address these in various webinars and developer meetings but wanted to make clear where you should go to ask questions, where you should go to report issues, and where you should go to grab the source code.

Mifos X versus Apache Fineract

A line of clarity we must first draw is Mifos X vs. Apache Fineract. Prior to the transition to becoming an Apache project, Mifos X was the software platform. From the moment we became an Apache project, Mifos X, the software platform became Apache Fineract. Mifos X now refers to the open source product distribution led by the Mifos Initiative that is built on top of Apache Fineract. Just as Musoni Services provides Musoni System or Conflux Technologies provide Finflux, Mifos X is another distribution on top of Apache Fineract.

The Mifos X distribution is an entire out-of-the-box solution that is a value-added distribution for financial inclusion.  which includes a web app (formerly referred to as community app), a mobile app for field officers, soon a mobile app for clients, reports powered by Pentaho and a data import tool. This distribution is released and available for download via SourceForge from the Mifos.org website. It is directed towards partners and user looking for a readily deployable solution including the Apache Fineract platform, a web user interface, and corresponding mobile apps.

The Apache Fineract is a general core banking system with just the back-end and APIs and no front-end. Developers and Innovators looking to build on Apache Fineract should go directly to GitHub and grab the source code for Apache Fineract (see below).

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Paul Maritz

Amazon Vs. Open Source

“We strongly believe that the world needs a mechanism to write cloud applications. We don’t want the cloud to be like the bad old days of the mainframe computer. There’s potentially some tension between  people who want the cloud to be closed and proprietary and folks like us who want it to be an option for developers to write cloud applications. History teaches us that every time there’s a major wave of technology and a major new category or platform, then new players emerge. The world went from the mainframe computer, in which IBM was the big winner, to the PC and productivity software, where Microsoft and Oracle were the big winners. Now, we’re going to the cloud as a new category and platform. We know that Amazon is a big winner there but it operates a closed platform and history teaches us that in every major shift, there’s at least one closed winner and at least one open winner. We know that the closed winner is going to be Amazon but we don’t know yet who the open winner is going to be.”

Check out what else Paul Maritz, Executive Chairman of Pivotal and Mifos Chairman of the Board has to say about the future of Open Source and cloud computing in the Forbes article:

Paul Maritz’s Vision For Pivotal And The Battle With Amazon Over Open Source Cloud Computing

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

2016 Google Summer of Code Wrap-Up

Google Summer of Code has come and gone in a flash…of brilliance that is. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were flooded with applicants for GSOC – now that we’ve concluded, our seven interns did not disappoint in their contributions throughout the summer. This marked our fifth year as a mentoring organization and each year GSOC continues to unite and grow our community in different ways. Once again, we received incredibly valuable contributions to our Mifos X web and mobile clients this summer; most importantly we have cultivated numerous passionate contributors that will be a part of our community long into the future. This year’s program also taught us many valuable lessons of how we can improve our communications and collaboration to realize the full potential of each of our interns.

imag7587Before we recap the new features that the community will soon be able to benefit from, a round of thank you’s:

  • Thank You to our GSOC Interns – persistence, patience, and passion were all critical factors needed along with your programming skills to help you succeed in navigating the complex FinTech domain. You have used cutting edge technologies to develop valuable innovation to help move millions out of poverty
  • Thank You to our Mentors – thanks to Nayan, Ashok, Pranjal, Antony, Ayuk, Ishan and Gaurav – you are the lifeblood of GSOC – your tireless commitment, your wise advice and your visionary insight have helped shape this next generation of open source contributors. We welcomed five new mentors this year including 2 of our former GSOC participants – Ishan and Gaurav.
  • Thank You to Google Open Source Programs – thanks to Stephanie, Cat, Joshua, Mary, and the entire team. Year after year, you continue to make the program more effective including the rollout of a brand new program website this year. We appreciate the attention and commitment you give to the hundreds of orgs and thousands of students you impact in so many ways.

Here’s a brief recap on what the interns worked on over the summer followed by a closing interview on their experiences over the summer.

Want to see all of the brand new features and innovation in action? Register and attend our GSOC Demo Day for a showcase of all their work via GoToTraining. GSOC Demo Day is Thursday September 15 at 1400GMT.

 

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Fun Facts about our Google Summer of Code Interns

As we come to the end of the 2016 Google Summer of Code program, before we give you a wrap-up on all the amazing work they did throughout the summer, let’s take a look back at where they’ve come from by highlighting some of the fun facts and interesting information they shared with us at the start of the program.

Once again, I’m astounded by the diversity and depth of thought of our students – I admire how moved they were by their first pull requests and their thirst for knowledge – now that we’re at the end of the program it’s fulfilling to see how much they’ve grown by collaborating and contributing to our community.

Summiting the Silicon Mountain in Cameroon

ayukThis a guest post from Ayuk Etta Akum, the CEO and Founder of Skylabase which is an IT Company in Cameroon, Africa that provides technologies for financial inclusion.

A year ago, I discovered financial inclusion, the movement to end poverty in the world. Then I decided to build my company on this movement. The beauty of financial inclusion is the ability to make a very large change in the world in a very critical sector with the least technology possible. For us to embark on this journey we needed years of experience from experts and key players in this movement and we discovered this in the Mifos Initiative, a key player in the world today for the financial inclusion movement. They opened to us a door of experience to meet people with over 50 years experience in the credit union movement, finance experts, banking experts, and a complete banking engine to start from.

The hard part was for us to be open and join the movement by seriously engaging in the community, and from this came Smartfinance which is a centralized and extendable banking platform for credit unions, microfinance institutions, and banks. Our goal and vision of smartfinance is for it to be the microfinance platform for Cameroon and CEMAC region of Africa and ultimately move across Africa. Our partnership with the Mifos Initiative helped us to come out with a platform that will be the future of finance management in Cameroon and the CEMAC region in Africa. We are integrating into this platform mobile money, money transfer, USSD connectors, all the features to make Smartfinance a full-fledged banking platform while giving back to the Mifos Initiative community. Read more

OSCON and the Growing Influence of Open Source Technology

Hello Mifos Community!

I’m back again with another post about yet another conference.

Over this past weekend, I was blessed with the ability to go to OSCON, an Open Source conference centered on the power that open source technology can have over a variety of industries, countries, and methodologies. From healthcare reform to open source cloud computing, this conference had an amazing variety of industries that were positively impacted by open source technology. To give you a glimpse of our weekend, I would like to both highlight a few of my favorite moments and give some insight into how the Mifos Initiative has both been a beneficiary and contributor to the open source movement.

OSCON general

Unlike most years, this year OSCON was held at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Personally, I thought it was very powerful holding the conference in Austin, (a vastly different city than its predecessor Portland) as it shows how open source is now truly a national movement and is being embraced across the country, even in areas that are historically more resistant to change. With the new venue came a host of new organizations and new speakers, all with new views and stories on how open source has helped advance their respective fields in one way or another. Below are a few of our favorites:

Performance Case Study: Capital One’s quick shift from closed source to open source

This session was especially intriguing to me, as a large bank (Capital One) is finally starting to embrace the open source movement that we at the Mifos Initiative have been a part of since 2006. After the first few minutes of the session, it was easy to see the commonalities between the big banks and our open source initiative. One common thread was the idea that banks must be a technology company first. In other words, in order to be a successful organization, the bank had to produce a banking platform that was easily scalable, user-friendly, and customizable to suit client needs. Sound familiar? All of these features are what we at the Mifos Initiative hang our hat on and are what makes the open source movement so powerful. In our age of agility, scalability, and customization, big banks are beginning to realize the power that the smaller open source initiatives, like the Mifos Initiative, are starting to have on a global scale.

Modern JavaScript Architectures: Clients, microservices, and containers

This session was more technical than the other sessions I went to but nevertheless fit very well with the third generation of our Mifos platform. For those of you that don’t know, the third generation of our platform encompasses taking our current MifosX platform and converting it to a series of microservices that we will containerize and navigate using a variety of cloud-based apps. So, as you can already tell, this talk directly correlated to the work we are doing in the conversion from our current Mifos X platform to the third generation of our open source platform. While I am currently on the business side of the Mifos Initiative, this talk helped me visualize how our platform will be set up at the developmental level. It was a great way to learn more about the inner workings of our platform and see how and why we are following the popular trend towards microservices and cloud-based apps.

Want students who are ready to contribute? Here’s what they should know.

As a student at the University of Washington, this session also struck very close to home for me. I’m lucky to have gotten the opportunity to intern for a great organization that works in the open source community, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am. For those that do not get exposed to the power of open source technology, how do we, as teachers and industry professionals help mold the future developers of the world? As a Google Summer of Code mentoring organization, the Mifos Initiative deals with this issue quite often. While we hope to get interns that are well equipped to take on any project we give them, we realize that not everyone is set up for success coming out of college. In order to maximize the production of these interns, we realize that we have to utilize the techniques given in the session to make sure all our students are ready to contribute right away so our projects will get done faster and more developers will be getting necessary experience to help them start their open source development careers.

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OSCON booth

In addition to the new speakers and exhibitor crowd, we were happy to see that a few members from our Mifos community made the trek from Cameroon to learn more about our organization and our industry. Among them was Nyah Check, a good friend of Ayuk the head of Skylabase Solutions, our partner organization in Cameroon working on creating a customized Mobile Wallet/Mobile Money application integration with Mifos. Nyahis currently in the States trying to learn as much as he can about open source technology from the various conferences he’s attended. He hopes to bring this knowledge back to Cameroon so he can build on top of the Mifos banking platform to give needed support to his community back home. He is truly an inspiration to everyone at Mifos and is living proof of just one of the millions of people that we have reached through our open source banking platform.

To wrap up, I would just like to say a quick thank you to our very own director Director of Community Programs, Ed Cable. It was a pleasure running the booth with you and I had a great OSCON experience. I look forward to many more exciting adventures with the Mifos Initiaitive over the summer!

Signing off,

Drew Fass

4th Generation Mifos Intern

Meet the 2016 Google Summer of Code Class of Interns

Google Summer of Codegsoc2016-sun-373x373 2016 is officially underway. GSOC is now in its 12th year and we’re proud to be participating in GSOC once again for the third time as the Mifos Initiative and the fifth year overall. This year was our most selective year ever with an acceptance rate of 6.08%. We received 115 proposals and had to choose amongst many exceptional candidates to allocate our seven slots. Selecting our top candidates that balanced with the highest priority needs of our community was a difficult process but we’re delighted to be working with a stellar team of interns from three continents who will be working on mobile apps, our community app, and new modules and integrations.

On the mobile front, Vishwajeet will be building out our first client-facing app – an Android self-service banking app. Rajan will be evolving our Android field operations app to Version 3.0. Our community app won’t be recognizable after this summer with Duplex working on refactoring and re-skinning it, Mohit adding in browser-based offline access and Adhyan adding in actionable notifications and status alerts. On top of the Fineract platform, Daniel will be adding in a module for mobile money integration and Nikhil working on credit bureau integration.

Given we had to be so selective and turn away so many candidates who had impressive applications and meaningful contributions, we’re pushing to run our own Mifos Summer of Code in parallel. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to provide stipends to the students we couldn’t choose but have high-priority projects along with seasoned mentors ready to guide them. Stay tuned for more on Mifos Summer of Code.

Our Google Summer of Code students started their first day of coding on Monday so please welcome them and send a word of encouragement to our mailing lists. As we do each year, here’s a brief intro on each of our interns and stay tuned for a follow-up post with some fun facts on each of them.

 

Duplex Kamdjou – Cameroon

  • Refactor & Re-Skin AngularJS Community App
  • Mentor: Pranjal Goswami & Gaurav Saini
Mohit Bajoria – India

Adhyan Srivastava – India

  • Actionable Notifications & Status Alerts
  • Mentor: Gaurav Saini & Pranjal Goswami
Vishwajeet Srivastava – India

  • Mifos Self-Service Android App
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna & Swapnil
Rajan Maurya – India

  • Mifos Android Field Operations App Version 3.0
  • Mentor: Ishan Khanna and Satya Naryan
Daniel Carlson – Cameroon 

Nikhil Pawar – USA

  • Credit Bureau Integration
  • Mentor: Nayan Ambali and Ashok Auty

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