Blog

  • Version 1.3 25 November 2013

    Yosemite tunnel tonemapped in qtpfsgui

    Version 1.3 of FixMyStreet is now out :-) The install script and AMI are both updated to this version.

    I realise I haven’t posted here with each point release during version 1.2, sorry. You can see the changes in each release here on GitHub at https://github.com/mysociety/fixmystreet/releases and below is a list of all the main things that have changed since version 1.2 (* means new since the last version, 1.2.6, if you were keeping track):

    • OpenLayers upgraded to 2.13.1, giving e.g. animated zooming
    • A fully functional Google Maps layer via OpenLayers
    • * If you only specify one cobrand in the configuration file, the site will always use it, rather than only if your hostname also matches. This is probably what you would expect to happen!
    • * A contact can be given multiple email addresses
    • * A body can be marked as deleted, and then it will not be used by the front end at all
    • The admin interface has had a lot of inline documentation, hints and notices added, along with a page showing the site’s current configuration
    • * The admin interface has some feature additions from coding volunteers, such as a date picker on the stats page thanks to Andrew Black, and searching by external ID thanks to Andy Lulham
    • We’ve added an example Vagrantfile and improved the install scripts
    • * The test suite should now run regardless of the contents of your configuration file
    • Translation improvements - some better wording of strings, some missed or UK-only URLs/translations (thanks Jonas and Rikard), and a fix for the long-standing issue where multiline strings were not being translated (hooray)
    • * Bug fixes, most notably sometimes when changing report state in the admin interface, and an issue with the bottom navbar in Chrome (which we’ve reported to the Chromium project)

    As always, do ask on the mailing list if you’d like more information on any of the above, or submit an issue or pull request on GitHub.

  • Version 1.2 3 May 2013

    broken lamp post

    Today we’re releasing version 1.2 of the FixMyStreet platform. The AMI has been updated and the install script will automatically now install this version.

    The main items in this release are things prompted by requests on our mailing list :-)

    • Postfix is now installed as part of the install script, or in the AMI. This means email should work out of the box. For anyone already installed, you can run the commands in the GitHub ticket.

    • A new configuration option MAPIT_ID_WHITELIST has been added, to restrict usage to the IDs specified, if given. This means Claudio, who emailed last week, could have [ 239540 ] as his MAPIT_ID_WHITELIST, and then reports could only be made within the Marche region of Italy. We already use this new option ourselves on https://www.zueriwieneu.ch/ where before it was hard-coded in the code.

    • Other things include being able to zoom in further on OSM maps, and HTML pages are now being gzipped.

    Lastly, as you can see this site has had a redesign to make it more friendly, and we’ve added some more documentation about e.g. updating an AMI instance to a newer version. If there’s anything unclear, please do ask on the mailing list or submit an issue or pull request on GitHub.

  • Version 1.1 - Bodies 22 February 2013

    Big Beautiful Face Statue in Tenerife by epSos.de

    Today we’re releasing version 1.1 of the FixMyStreet platform. The AMI has been updated and the install script will automatically now install this version.

    The main change since version 1.0 is the addition of bodies. Historically, FixMyStreet has assumed that the administrative areas that are returned from MapIt are the same thing as the bodies to which the reports will be sent. This has led over time to a number of workarounds when this hasn’t been the case, either in manual code changes in FixMyStreet or by adding new types to a MapIt install, and dealing with it in that way.

    We have updated the code so that FixMyStreet holds its own records of bodies to which reports can be sent, and the MapIt area – or areas – that they cover. This is conceptually much clearer, as well as making it much easier to have a body covering multiple areas, an area with multiple bodies, or a combination.

    Smaller functional changes in this release include admin improvements (it now looks like the front end site, and has add a number of other additions), and a couple of new configuration variables, DO_NOT_REPLY_EMAIL and SEND_REPORTS_ON_STAGING, to make debugging a little easier, along with a --debug option to send-reports. Also, we found on the mailing list a couple of times that people ran into trouble because their MapIt had debug turned on, and FixMyStreet didn’t cope well with the debug output MapIt included in its responses. This has now been fixed.

    Many others of the commits in the past few months have been for various installations of the codebase, from the forthcoming FixMyBarangay in the Philippines to local UK council installs such as Oxfordshire or Bromley. These have in many cases led to small improvements and bugfixes to the central codebase, which can then be used by any reusers of the code.

    Lastly, all the strings in the JavaScript are now translatable, along with a few other strings that had previously been missed; do let us know if you find any other strings that can’t be translated and we’ll look into it.

  • Easy Installation 2 October 2012

    Four months ago, someone raised a ticket on FixMyStreet’s GitHub account, asking for alternative ways of setting up an installation. We certainly agreed this was a good idea, as we’re well aware that there are various different parts to FixMyStreet that might require quite a bit of knowledge in setting up.

    We’re now pleased to announce that we have created an AMI (Amazon Machine Image) containing an already set-up default installation of FixMyStreet. You can use this to create a running server on an Amazon EC2 instance. If you haven’t used Amazon Web Services before, then you can get a Micro instance free for a year.

    If you have your own server, then we have separately released the install script that is used to create the AMI, which can be run on any clean Debian or Ubuntu server to set everything up for you, from the PostgreSQL database to nginx.

    If you prefer to do things manually, and already know how to set up your database and web server, our manual documentation is still available.

    An AMI and install script is also available for MapIt – see our MapIt documentation for more details. This should make it very straightforward to get something set up for testing and development.

    Do let us know how you get on.

  • Improving Configuration 17 August 2012

    Now that a default install is a bit more straightforward to set up, our thoughts turn to improving the customistation of that default install. Currently, apart from the options already present in the main configuration file, that involves knowing a bit of Perl, in order to create a Cobrand .pm file containing the various customistations. So to reduce that dependency, we’ve moved a number of these options into the main configuration file, so that hopefully a standard customisation might not need a Cobrand .pm file at all.

    These changes range from simple text strings that are now in templates, through to specifying what areas from MapIt you are interested in, or what languages the site is available in. The general.yml-example file contains information on each option, and we’ve updated our customisation documentation as well.

    Also, thanks to some testing of a current installation by Anders for FiksGataMi, we’ve made more incremental improvements to the installation, including fixing a couple of tests that shouldn’t run unless your configuration is set up in a particular way, making sure inherited cobrands use the best templates, and including the Catalyst::Devel module so running the development server is easier.

  • Default Workings 27 July 2012

    In the past few weeks, a number of improvements have been made to the FixMyStreet default set up, so that installation should provide you with a working setup more easily and quickly, before you get on and make all the necessary customisations you will want to for the service you are setting up.

    Firstly, we’ve tidied and consolidated the documentation on to this site, putting everything you need in one place. We are using GitHub pages, which means that the documentation is bundled along with the repository when checking out, which might be useful. The installation guide now includes help for installing on Mac OS X, and various other tweaks and improvements.

    Next, the codebase now automatically defaults to OpenStreetMap maps and geocoding – these are available, with more or less data, everywhere in the world, so you should be able to test your installation and see working maps.

    Whilst an installation of MapIt may be necessary for your FixMyStreet to work as you want – mapping locations picked to the right authority might need some private boundary data, for example – the code will now default to work as if everywhere is one administrative area.

    The code for sending reports has been refactored and modularised, enabling proprietary options to be more easily added alongside the standard email, Open311, and so on.

    We have removed any UK specific code from the default cobrand, moving it to a UK cobrand (which is then in turn inherited by the various council cobrands we have made in the UK). This should mean that you find you have less to override, and more things should work by default.

    Default screenshot

    Lastly, the default cobrand now uses the new style that you can see on https://www.fixmystreet.com. By default, we have picked a pretty yet garish colour scheme, in order to remind you that you almost certainly want to change the colours being used for your own installation :)

  • An Introduction 6 February 2012

    mySociety wrote FixMyStreet in 2007 in order to make it easy for people in the UK to report problems in their area. Since then over 200,000 problems have been reported to UK councils using the site. As with all our sites we want people everywhere to be able to benefit so we were delighted to work with the Norwegian Unix User’s Group (NUUG) last year to set up a FixMyStreet in Norway.

    We want to build on that and help more people around the world install their own copy of FixMyStreet. In the months since FiksGataMi was launched we’ve made a number of changes to FixMyStreet to make it easier to install and customise for other countries. We’ve rewritten much of the code to use the Catalyst web framework which has helped make it easier to customise and we’re now improving the documentation and ironing out the installation procedure.

    However, we know that easy to install code is only part of the process. Building a community around the software is far more valuable in encouraging people to use and improve it. This site and the new mailing list are our first steps along that road.

    So, if you’ve ever wanted to have a FixMyStreet for your town, state or country then join the mailing list and we’ll help you along the way.