15th July 2015
Zen: The new CoderDojo Community Platform!
This September Zen is being relaunched as the new Community Platform for CoderDojo! There will be many new ways to interact online with your Dojo and engage with other volunteers in the CoderDojo Community via the new Community Platform!
We’ll be hosting CoderDojo forums running on NodeBB (https://nodebb.org/). In these forums there will be specific forums for different topics as well as regional topics, events, challenges or opportunities. There will be a youth specific forum for CoderDojo Ninjas to communicate with one another, learn from peers and collaborate. These forums will be moderated by the CoderDojo Foundation team.
A bespoke ticketing system will enable Champions to issue tickets for once off or term Dojo events. This will enable youth and their parents to book a ticket to a Dojo session without needing to leave the platform and use a third party site. It will also enable Dojos to keep track of their Dojo attendance and have reporting functionality available.
We’ll also be integrating Mozilla Open Badges (http://openbadges.org/) into the system so Ninjas and Mentors can showcase skills they’ve learnt in their Dojos! Open badges give Champions and Mentors the ability to recognise and reward attendees for achievements at no expense to Dojos. A core set of badges will be created by the CoderDojo team based on existing standards in use by Dojos around the world. Individual Dojos will be encouraged to create and issue their own unique badges and to build out the portfolio of badges available to youths.
Learn more about open badges and the benefit of them for the community here.
Mentors, Champions and Ninjas over the age of thirteen will have the opportunity to showcase these badges on their profile and be able to show the Dojos they are linked up with. It’s a great opportunity for Mentors to show their volunteering experience as well!
We’re streamlining the onboarding process for Champions starting Dojos and will be including the ability to align with CoderDojo Tao (Recommended Practice) in the onboarding process! We’re also using Intercom to be able to communicate with Champions in real time and we’re integrating Salesforce into Zen to make it easier to keep up to date with the latest movements of Dojos around the world. We’re using Logentries and New Relic to keep track of our performance and generate advanced statistics.
Zen is being developed in NodeJS using Seneca (senecajs.org), with a PostGres database and an AngularJS frontend all on the back of our own REST API. The system has a nifty localisation section built in so it can be translated into any language easily. We’re planning to launch the system in more than just English, it will initially be launched in Italian also! If you’re interested in translating the platform into other languages, please get in touch.
All of these technologies are open-source and the system itself will be open sourced once live.
Contributing is easy! All of the code will be stored in Github repositories. We’ll be running separate services and have the components split into separate repositories to make it easier for you to contribute to your area of expertise – whether it be tweaking the theme for the forum with HTML/CSS, adding functionality to our database queries using SQL, fine-tuning one of the Node microservices or making improvements to an AngularJS template. You can fork the base repository to run it locally and then submit pull requests to the relevant section to add your own new features to Zen!
Single Sign On
The new system will make it easier for you to interact with CoderDojo across all sections of the site. You’ll be able to use your Zen account to sign in to Kata, our resources wiki as well as the forum and ticketing system.
As well as all of this the Community Platform be fully responsive so you can use it on your phone and mobile devices too!
We’re really excited to deliver this new resource to the community!
The new Community Platform is being built by nearForm, a Waterford, Ireland based development house that specialises in developing with Node JS. You can read more about them and the Community Platform here.