All posts by roryaronson

OpenFarm Will Launch On January 18th

We’ve come a long way since beginning to work on OpenFarm just a few months ago. We’ve built a team of business minds, web developers, and community managers; wrapped up the Kickstarter campaign; redesigned the HomepageGrowing Guides, and Guide Creation Flow; began openly publishing our finances; and talked with hundreds of people through surveys, our discussion forum, and via in-person interviews.

Today we’re excited to announce that OpenFarm will launch on January 18th, 2015! We still have a lot of work to do to make sure the site is working properly and has all the features we think we need for a minimally meaningful product; but we’re on track, excited, and have our heads in the game to accomplish this. Save the date for January 18th and be sure to check back with us. We’ll be all ears for your feedback, immensely appreciative of your support, and looking forward to being a part of this budding community with you.

If you have any questions, please drop us a line in our discussion forum, email Rorytweet at us, or help us out on GitHub. Thanks!

OpenFarm Now Lives in a Dedicated GitHub Organization

As mentioned previously, OpenFarm started out as a sub-component of the FarmBot Project. Because of this, the OpenFarm repository started out as owned by the FarmBot Organization on GitHub. However, over the last few months of developing OpenFarm, we have learned that this project has a distinct life of its own, and for that it should have a distinct organization on GitHub that it lives in. We just made the move last night, and you can find the web app repo and future repos from the OpenFarm team within the new OpenFarmCC Github Organization. See you there!

OpenFarm’s Finances

As an open-source project that is funded by our community and in the pursuit of a more open and transparent society, we are making publicly accessible all of OpenFarm’s finances. Note that there are two sheets, one for expenditures and one for revenues, of which you can switch between using the tabs at the bottom left corner.

To date, OpenFarm has raised a total of $21,707.91 (all from Kickstarter) and we have spent $3,265.32. We’ll be posting regular financial updates to keep everyone informed of our situation.

OpenFarm Developer Update and Overview

It’s what everyone’s been waiting for – an update from the OpenFarm development team.

It’s been an incredibly busy month in stats. There have been about 50,000 bits of code added to the database (and 25,000 bits deleted, which is about as important really) since the start of August. The OpenFarm codebase has 18 contributors – which we’re absolutely thrilled with – not considering the amazing people doing so much work outside of the code (which is a lot harder to measure, but this is a dev update, so we’ll stick to that).

Numbers aside, here’s an overview of OpenFarm as a program:

OpenFarm runs on Ruby on Rails enhanced with a largely AngularJS front-end (this is still a matter of debate). We have a MongoDB database, which guarantees maximum flexibility in these early growth stages, and fast search and upgrading into the future. Search of our database is powered by ElectricSearch. Our code is stored on GitHub. If you’re interested in such things, OpenFarm has a testing framework that reports to Coveralls – we try to keep our back-end test coverage at 100%. We’re still looking for a good way to test front-end code. Continue reading OpenFarm Developer Update and Overview

Homepage Facelift

The OpenFarm development team has been hard at work giving the site a clean, modern, and unified facelift as we roll out new features. Our new homepage has an awesome video background with scenes of my friends in a community garden near my home, and also my backyard chickens! We think it is a fun, engaging, mood setting introduction to OpenFarm that we hope will make users smile.

The rest of the Homepage remains simple so as to put Search and Guide Creation front and center. Below the scroll is a Featured Section which will be populated with the most popular Crops! We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new homepage. Drop us a line in the comments below!

Here are all of our mockups that lead us to this design, and thanks to the homepages of Airbnb and Instructables for inspiration! Shoutout to Ryan McLeod for helping with the design process and actually writing the code to make it pixel perfect! Continue reading Homepage Facelift

The Growing Guide – An Evolution

Growing Guides are the body of OpenFarm; they are the primary piece of content that capture the methodology of growing a Crop based on a single author’s perspective. Growing Guides are both creative and highly structured documents. They are fixed in concept while fluid in detail, as the exact data they convey changes not only on what the author decides to share, but also on who is reading the Guide, where they live, and their farm or garden’s environmental conditions. The data is not only meant for humans to read, but machines and other applications too. Guide content can be translated across hemispheres, units, and languages alike. Guides are complex, and yet I think we are approaching a beautifully simple interface and experience for creating and consuming them.

This blog post is a story of how the Growing Guide has evolved since I started thinking about OpenFarm nearly one year ago. Continue reading The Growing Guide – An Evolution

What do you think about the OpenFarm Guide Creation Flow?

Hi OpenFarm Backers!

We’ve been hard at work adding features, data, and style to OpenFarm over the last month. Have you seen the new homepage?! Now, we could use your input for the next step in our progress: Guide Creation.

Growing Guides are the primary piece of content on OpenFarm, and so the way that someone creates a Guide needs to be well thought out. We’re aiming for a process that is:

  • Fun,
  • Easy,
  • Allows for author creativity, and
  • Guides the author to produce high quality, consistently formatted content.

Click here to see the mockups and share your input!

A sneak preview:


Our Code of Conduct

OpenFarm is nothing without our community. From software developers, to designers, to our administrative team, to our everyday users and content creators, every person is important in making OpenFarm a vibrant community full of diverse perspectives and knowledge. We want to ensure that OpenFarm is a safe space for everyone to have fun learning and sharing with others. To do so, we have developed a Code of Conduct to get all of our community members on the same page regarding what is acceptable behavior within our community.

See our Code here:

We urge other community based projects to adopt a code as well, and you are more than happy to borrow language from ours, just as we did from other projects. Cheers to healthy, safe communities!

Help us out with a Survey!

Hi OpenFarm Backers,

Our team has expanded to include a few entrepreneurship students who are working with us to develop the best service for the most people. To better understand our community, we have created a preliminary survey and would greatly appreciate your participation!

Click Here to Take the Survey

An update about T-shirts: I just got back home from my travels abroad and found that some of the t-shirts we’re returned to me because of inadequate postage. I’ll fix the issue and get them out again this week, apologies for the delay!

Join the OpenFarm Discussion on Loomio

As the OpenFarm project and community continue to grow, it is important for us to provide open tools to promote quality discussion and feedback about how best to move OpenFarm forward.

We’re pleased to now be using the Loomio platform for open discussions and consensus voting on proposals. Check out our community group (and sub-groups), sign up, and join the discussion! We welcome everyone’s input and value our community’s diversity greatly.

Some highlights so far:

Note: Technical issues and discussion related to OpenFarm software are still discussed on GitHub.