To IndyApp and Beyond

Guest post by William Duguid of Yes Perth City and Common Weal Perth & Kinross, and blogger at the wonderful To September and Beyond

IndyApp Crowdfund Link https://chuffed.org/project/nyr-indyapp

It was a bright July evening when the National Yes Registry Roadshow, in the person of the indefatigable Jason Baird, rolled into Perth to demonstrate IndyApp. For the small band of Common Weal Perth & Kinross and Yes Perth City supporters who were present, the abiding memory of the evening was Jason’s energy and enthusiasm, lifting the discussion beyond dry tech-speak into something that outlined real campaigning possibilities. It was a bright spot in what was, let’s face it, a fairly flat summer.
So what’s IndyApp all about? Well, it’s a free-of-charge networking tool that you can download from nationalyesregistry.scot to run on any Android or iOS device. As the name suggests, it’s been designed specifically with the Yes movement in mind, after consultation with a pilot group of pro-indy organisations from all over Scotland. Its aim is to help to bring together all the campaigning experience, creativity and organisational talent that’s been out there since 2014, and make it easy for new supporters to become involved.

The app’s been up and running since September 2016, and is growing steadily. At the last count, 131 Indy groups across Scotland had set up their ‘Front Door’ on it, containing all the information needed for individuals to contact them, discover what they’re up to and get involved. No need to search through social media, seek out a street stall or send off an e-mail to what you hope is the right address; the gang’s all here.

What if you’re a technophobe, fazed by new-fangled stuff on your phone? Nae bother; IndyApp’s a stress-free experience. Once you’ve installed it, to find a local Yes group all you need to do is type in the first half of your postcode and hit ‘Go’. The app will display the groups geographically closest to you, and a click on any of them will take you to its Front Door. There you’ll find a group profile page, venue with google map, meeting times, an opportunity to donate (if you wish) and details of any coming events or campaigns.

Most importantly, you’ll see a Contact/Join button, enabling you to become a member of the local group. Once you’ve joined you’ll be able to send direct messages to your fellow group members – individually, as a selection or all at once. Once again, there’s no need to keep up with e-mail addresses.

That’s individuals within local groups in touch with one another. What about the groups themselves? They’re connected via designated Editors in each group, who can also exchange messages with each other. It’s Group Editors who also ensure their group’s information is kept up to date, so it’s wise for each group to appoint two or, ideally, three editors and share the role.

Those IndyApp connections, on their own, represent a pretty significant grass-root communications breakthrough compared to 2014. But they’re just the beginning. The next round of development, already planned and currently being crowd-funded, is where the real fireworks will come.

On the agenda for IndyApp 2.0 are Local and National Forums. In a group’s Local Forum members will be able to post and comment on campaigning ideas and whatever else is going on, keeping everyone in the group informed and thinking about its next move, even between meetings and events. The National Forum, visible to everyone but with designated members of each group posting on its behalf, will do the same on a grander scale, helping to spark national campaigns from successful local initiatives or popular ideas.

Also planned are Resource Buttons, allowing each group to list its local resources: membership skill sets, equipment, suppliers, venues, media contacts and the like. For its local membership, this will encourage and simplify self-starting campaign ideas. Nationally, each group will be able, if it wishes, to share local resources, either as an alternative source of supply for other groups or to be available for national campaigns.

Taking these two ideas a step further, there’ll be national Committee Rooms, where representatives of each group will be able to get together to develop ideas proposed in the forums or elsewhere. They’ll have several other practical applications, too: perhaps organising mass orders of merchandise, so as to achieve economies of scale; or distributing the future equivalent of Wings Over Scotland’s ‘Wee Blue Book’; or setting up national tours for speakers, musicians or film screenings. Endless possibilities!

These features, and a few others that remain under wraps for now, give IndyApp the potential to be a real game-changer in Indyref2. At its heart is local autonomy, with each local group free to select and adapt whichever ideas or strategies it feels are best suited to it, with little or no dependence on a centralised ‘Yes HQ’ that might turn out to be another pinch point as the heat of the campaign builds up again.

Of course, as with any tool, it’ll be only as effective as we make it. To realise its potential we need to ensure that as many Yes supporters as possible sign up for it, start to engage with it and fully understand what it can do. Jason Baird is still touring round, putting in appearances at The National Roadshow in Perth, the Build2 SIC Conference at the Usher Hall and various local venues. But it’s not a job solely for him; we all need to spread the word and get people excited about what IndyApp can do.

And, most importantly of all, we need to ensure the project is funded.

Building in the features planned for IndyApp 2.0 will cost a total of £24,000. Half of this sum has already been privately pledged by pro-indy business people as “match funding”, which means that, in order to release it, the rest of us need to raise £12,000. If we can achieve that, the new features will be in place within four months – in good time for a September 2018 referendum, if that’s when it happens.

To raise the £12,000, Jason and his National Yes Registry colleagues have started a crowd-funding page at https://chuffed.org/project/nyr-indyapp. But time is short: the window closes on 6 December, and there’s still some way to go.

I’m sure that, whenever the referendum’s called, we all want to give ourselves the best possible chance of winning it. Used effectively, with all its planned features in place, IndyApp will take us a long way towards that goal.

Please do take a look at the IndyApp crowd-funding page, and donate whatever you can.

0 thoughts on “To IndyApp and Beyond

  1. Pingback: To IndyApp and Beyond | speymouth

    • Hi, Marconatrix, just take a look at the link ‘Here’s a full break down of our IndyApp2.0 completion and running costs’ on our crowdfund page. It is not a customised anything. It is bespoke and been designed and coded for the needs of the groups (and much more).
      Jason

      • But it surely can’t be that unique, so there must be e.g. open source solutions that you could adapt or build upon. No need to re-invent the wheel as it were? Rarely in fact, these days, is software ever built from the ground up. Perhaps where some novel piece of hardware is involved, but that’s not the case here. Something about this smells, I’m afraid 🙁

        • Marconatrix, have you bothered to come along to any of our many open group meetings held over the last three years (as well as the two national tours of 32 events and 39 events)? Each of those was an open in-depth explanation and discussion of who, what and how. By all means be as cynical as you like, simply don’t support us, but please spare me this mealy mouthed and snide ‘something smells’ inuendo. All it takes is a wee bit research. J https://player.vimeo.com/video/241223920

          • Sorry, no snide was intended, and indeed your aims are admirable, and I’m sure useful and necessary at this stage in the game.
            I was simply surprised by the cost of implementation and wonder just where all this money is going.
            I am currently located outwith Scotland, so I appreciate that I may have missed something.

          • That’s ok Marconatrix. three years ago I made all the same assumptions, but having been actually creating the thing since then I can assure you it is not the simple thing you are assuming.

            ‘Perhaps where some novel piece of hardware is involved’

            The ‘novel piece of hardware involved’ here is the unique Scottish Yes movement and it’s requirements. This is not a social media tool so there is also an enormous amount of ‘off app’ discussion, negotiation and organisation needed to create a collaborative platform that’s equally effective for every variety of campaigning Indy group out there (or groups that are yet to form, just waiting for the referendum to be called).

            That is a very long detailed discussion not really suited to comments sections but let me assure you that we have had endless open discussions face to face with groups and individuals raising and discussing exactly these points (and many more). This is why we currently have 131 plus participating groups and are the only such grass-root networking tool out there. We will get it built. The argument is how long its going to take…

            Hope this helps answer some of your questions.
            J

          • If any of your discussions are public I would appreciate a link/links.

            If your work is as ground-breaking as you seem to be suggesting then it should be of value, (at least the basic infrastructure rather than the front-end), to many other decentralised campaigning groups. That should in the longer term spread the development costs, as well as boosting other grass-roots organisations and collectives.

      • Only if someone is laughing all the way to the bank. Honestly I’m surprised that in the whole of the IndyScotland community/movement there’s no one who could assemble the pieces for you, either as their contribution to the cause, or at the very least for a nominal sum.

        Maybe I’m mistaken about the true nature of the Indy movement. I’m definitely starting to feel uncomfortable here, and that’s a first for me.

        • Ok, so we are back to anonymous snide innuendo again are we. All I will say is that we are not anonymous and have actually been doing this with the support of activist groups of the Indy movement for the last three years.You obviously must be ‘mistaken about the nature of the Indy Movement’ and about the scale of the task involved.
          Instead of feeling uncomfortable for the first time, why not get out there yourself and make a universal networking tool designed specifically for the grassroots autonomous groups. Shouldn’t be too difficult in your imagined Indy Movement. Remember though, before IndyApp1.1 there was no way of easily contacting all the groups to try and source all your free coders. And before our National delegate conference of the grassroot groups back in December of 2015 (the very first ever) there was no real knowledge of the requirements such a networking tool would have to incorporate as an outline design, never mind as a detailed specification for construction. You would not need to travel the country (6500miles for two tours) holding open meetings to keep developing and testing your design with the changing requirements of the groups as the political realities of Scotland have changed. Wouldn’t need to sleep in your van to keep the costs manageable. Wouldn’t need to do any of that because we have already done that for you and published an explanation of our full design. So Marconomatrix, should be simple. Especially as there are now 131 easily contactable groups out there (through the IndyApp of course), aware and signed up to the general concept of a collaborative networking tool and with a general understanding of the specific functions needed to build such a network. It’s all there for you, go for it.
          Any one that doesn’t want to do that but would still want the groups and the movement to be able to network with one another, can drop a wee donation into our bucket if they like and we will carry on doing it for them until we can get it finished. You don’t need to donate Marconomatrix, its not compulsory or anything.

          Jason

          • Why so completely OTT defensive? I only queried the price, not the concept.

            “It’s all there for you, go for it.”
            All where? A link would be nice …

  2. My ‘phone does texts and calls – nothing else – so I’m afraid if it’s of no use to me. Good luck to those who can use it though:-)

    • Hi Weechild (and Greame),
      We are building a version for downloading onto PC’s right now, for all the reasons that yo say. Its just that we have been working under very limited resources and so made a strategic decision to get the android and iOS versions built and out first. It is much harder to transfer a large screen design down onto a mobile size screen than going from small to big. We really want to be able to include as wide a demographic as possible and we will, its just how best to marshal our resources. We expect folk to post on the coming forums from their PC app but probably reply to posts on their mobile devices. This is why we are proceeding the way we are but please don’t worry, we do not wish or plan to exclude anyone. We just have to take it logical step by step.

      Hope this helps allay any fears or frustrations

      J 🙂

  3. I’m with you Weechid, why can’t we have a web app that can run on our PC’s, smartphones are annoying at least for some of us, I have a smartphone which I use for phone calls & texts occasionally which is all I ever want to do with the thing, In spite of that I just registered and it won’t accept my login details because I’ve probably typed something wrong because my fingers are too big and I can’t see the bloody screen properly

    rant over

    Graeme

  4. Yep, I’m up for this! I’ve made a wee donation and would like to install the app on my Kindle Fire tablet. However, I can’t find it in the app store, which usually means it’s not compatible. Can you advise please?

    • Thanks for donating George, as with my replies before we have not yet made a compatible version for Kindle Fire yet due to resources. However we are making a pc version and hopefully once it starts to support itself we will be able to develop it for all the different platforms out there but I hope you understand that this is a big job and we want to concentrate on completing the architecture of the app on the majority devices first so that the network can get started. We designed it on the cheapest of cheap KITKat tablets so in the event of the campaign being called before we can get it made for everything, a cheap android is always an option.

      Thanks again for your donation and support George, its really appreciated!

      J 🙂

      • It is in the app store though still not compatible with Kindle Fire I am afraid. Any one searching: NYR IndyApp or easier still, go to our website nationalyesregistry.scot and click on the android or iOS buttons and it will take you directly to the download page.

        J

  5. This sounds like an excellent app to me, but sad if only people with smart phones can use it. Even in this day and age, not everyone has, or indeed wants, one.

  6. Sorry Jason I didn’t see your post, what you’re saying makes perfect sense to me I understand, I’m a Linux user so hopefully you’ll port it to Linux as well eventually

    In fairness I haven’t donated to the project so far so I don’t have a right to ask for anything but I have donated to various indy projects in the past the latest being the Independence Live team so I’m kinda all donated out at the moment but I will try as soon as I can

    Graeme

    • Yeah we will have to do something for Linux users too 🙂 Thanks for the feedback Graeme and thanks for thinking of us… Independence Live are very, very worthy depositories of your generosity so big thumbs up there 🙂

      J 🙂

  7. Jason thank you. Spent years as an engineer and IT. What you are doing for a pittance is great.

    To the IT illiterate an application that can have lots of concurrent users and hold many files and functionality you cannot do this with Facebook or any other basic user app. Trust me the cost is very low.

    Abroad just now will contribute when home.

    • Thanks Andy, that’s very much appreciated 🙂 As they say, ‘if it was easy, everyone would be doing it…’

      Jason 🙂

  8. It is hard to imagine a more off-putting name for something than the ‘National Yes Registry’. It sounds like something for sex-offenders. Having an app for it doesn’t make it any more appealing.

  9. I’m seeing some sniffy, negative and downright suspicious remarks here, certainly nothing that would constitute constructive critical feedback. I’m not sure why that would be. Who cares what the name is, what if this app is successful in bringing us closer to Independence? Surely that’s worth a wee bit of support? I have absolutely no connection with or knowledge of the people behind it, but what I do know is that WGD considers them trustworthy enough to hand over his blog to them. Frankly, that’s good enough for me.

  10. Thanks George, really appreciate your support and totally agree, we really can’t thank Paul enough for all his support! Thank you Paul and thanks to everyone that has read the article and maybe dropped something in our bucket. You are all stars! 🙂
    Jason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *