RapidSMS is a free and open-source framework for rapidly building mobile services for scale.The tool is built with Python and Django (two commonly used programming languages) and is designed for building robust, highly customized mobile services with web-based dashboards. Its architecture is ideal for large-scale data collection, managing complex workflows, and automating data analysis.
I first heard about RapidSMS while writing our article about how smartphones are changing healthcare in Africa. In that article I discussed how specialized programs are being built to capture health records and other data in remote regions. Since writing the article, a few readers have expressed interest in using mobile tech for other health care implementations, and I think they might find this tool interesting. Here's a few perks I took note of:
RapidSMS framework was created by programmers working directly on actual project implementations with end users- not by an isolated software firm working from specifications. The resulting software is practical, flexible, and simple enough to meet real world needs.
RapidSMS code is freely available under an open source license. Nearly 200 software developers and implementers discuss RapidSMS on the RapidSMS mailing-list, and software developers from Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Canada, UK, and USA have contributed to the growing code base. Anyone can easily access its project wiki and documentation site.
Its got a Great Community
Since the code is open source, a lot of its support is crowd sourced. The Rapid SMS community encourages programmers to document their projects, providing insight into potential uses for the software, and leveraging the help and resources of the active community. They also encourage interoperability, implementing SMS software standards that help ensure that programs mesh well with other effective platforms.
The platform has already been put to all sorts of great uses in developing and developed countries. It's certainly worth a look.