The BMLT is an epic project with major impact on NA. Don’t let the fact that it is an “outside the Service structure” project fool you into thinking that it shouldn’t be taken very, very seriously. Remember that all these folks take the BMLT quite seriously. They use it to manage what is arguably the most important Service that a Service body can do: namely help people find NA (and even non-NA) meetings. There’s dozens of places that we could use help.
The BMLT has been designed as a platform, not an app. That means that the BMLT is just the beginning. It provides a solid foundation on which we can build all kinds of things.
MOST (not some –MOST) of the help we could use only requires a minimal level of technical knowledge. Additionally, work on the BMLT can help you to learn extremely valuable skills that could benefit you in real life, not just NA Service.
The BMLT is run as a fairly classic open source initiative. It starts with code, but we have an entire community and ecosystem growing around this code. It’s a really major effort, and has a lot of different facets.
Below is an incomplete list of the types of things that we could use as help. Some of these require almost no coordination with, or input from, us. Others may require that you follow things like strict coding, quality or style guidelines.
- This Web site is an example of documentation. However, this is a very deep rabbit-hole. There’s so much that can be written about the BMLT; from so many perspectives.
- We could have user guides (both searching for meetings, and administering BMLT installations), community Web sites (like FaceBook Groups and discussion forums), developer assistance (like sites or communities dedicated to people that want to write their own satellites, for example), and so much more.
- Education and Representation
- For example, seminars or classes, given by Service bodies for their Trusted Servants, or workshops at conventions and Service Symposiums.
- This could also involve setting up sample sites, and online tutorials, such as these.
- A great thing would be to create a pool of educational materials, such as generic PowerPoint shows or publications that could be used by Service committees that want to train or evangelize the BMLT.
- Third-Party Extensions
- This is a rich area for the more technically-minded folks. You can write your own Satellite clients (for example, the Tabbed UI WordPress Plugin is a perfect example, as is the Cloud-Based Printed Meeting List Generator).
- The Semantic Interface gives almost unlimited potential here.
- You could also write things like mobile apps or even administration tools (there is a semantic interface that provides limited administration capability).
- Data processors could be extremely useful. The Semantic Interface opens up a whole world of reports and data that can be used to give feedback and guidance to Service bodies. There’s a lot that can be done to create correlators, aggregators and things like Excel templates for analyzing, working with, and representing this data.
- Work on the Satellites
- The default Satellites are quite a humble representation of the power inherent in the BMLT, and are limited by the ability of the team to work on them. They could be much more.
- A quick example is to create customized themes for our existing satellites.
- Another example is to develop new Content Management System plugins from the Satellite Base Class, or even just from our Semantic Interface.
- Work on the Root Server
- There’s always bugs to be fixed, and features to be added.
- We are always open to improvements in usability and Semantic Interfaces, as well.
- Provide support for the BMLT
- Act as a sort of “helpdesk” to assist Service bodies around the world to implement the BMLT. This can be a very cool thing. You make contacts with NA Trusted Servants from far-flung places like China and India (unless you are reading this from China or India, in which case it isn’t so “far flung”).
- Act as a “tecchie on call” to help Service bodies debug problems with their BMLT instance (this often involves help with their sites beyond the BMLT, which can actually be very interesting, and they are often quite grateful).
- Remember that this is a VERY important Service that directly saves lives. Helping Service bodies implement the BMLT is just as important as doing an H&I commitment or a PI presentation.
- Testing, Testing, Testing
- The more testing, and the more varied, the better.
- This is more than just bug testing. We also need things like usability and accessibility testing (for disabled folks, for instance).
- We could use recommendations for new features and accommodations, etc.
- We also need security screening. If you find any security holes, we would really appreciate it if you could contact us about the vulnerability.
- Spreading the Word
- We could use some (tasteful and accurate) support from our friends. Let folks know about the BMLT.
- Let us know of implementations, or related sites. We’ll be happy to help spread the word about your work.
- Localization (translation)
- We need to have more standard languages for the BMLT. We still need to have Spanish, Italian and Danish completed, as they are only partially done.
- Step up at your local Service body
- Tell your Service body about the BMLT.
- Volunteer to become a Meeting List Administrator.
- Volunteer to help collect information for a Meeting List Administrator (such as verifying meeting information).
- Volunteer to be a Server Administrator, or a Regional Service Body Administrator.
- Help to integrate your Helpline (or other Service bodies) with the BMLT.
- If you are a Web geek, then help your Service body to implement the BMLT, or use the capabilities of an existing installation to improve Services.
- Remember that this is critically important Service! This could mean life or death. It’s one of the most fundamental needs of any Group-Serving Service body.
- Create and support BMLT-oriented communities
- This actually encompasses several of the points above. This could be especially important for non-English communities.
- A great thing would be if folks that use and implement the BMLT could get together and share knowledge and techniques in some forum.
There’s no reason that you can’t just go and start doing your own thing. You don’t need to get permission from us to do anything you like.
The only place that you should coordinate with us is if you want to work on the core code of the BMLT. You can clone from the projects, or submit pull requests, but it’s a good idea to let us know beforehand, so we can help to make sure the integration goes smoothly (for example, we need to make sure that any pull requests to our code follow consistent coding and quality standards).
Otherwise, knock yourselves out. This is a completely open and free project. We don’t have any copyright issues (about 99% of the code was originated by us, and there are no license issues with the small parts that aren’t).
Documentation and community initiatives don’t require any real coordination with us, but we could probably offer tremendous assistance to such efforts. It would be a good idea to contact us, and see how we can work together. We would not insist on any kind of leadership role (that sounds way too much like “work”).