The EU GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulation

Control your AMS with Open Source
RSA Conference in San Francisco
GDPR as seen by a vid from the RSA Conference

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation starts May 25, 2018. This is mostly an FYI as Tendenci “the Company” does not engage in cross site monitoring. It creeps us out a bit.

Yet while Tendenci does not do cross site tracking or individual tracking, it is possible that YOUR site does if you are using Google Analytics, DoubleClick or any number of third party add-ons and plugins.

It is up to YOU to reauthorize and comply with the data protection policies associated with third party add-ons on your site.

What DOES Tendenci do that might allow you to make a mistake in GDPR compliance?

If used as designed, it would be hard to become out of compliance as every site is in an isolated database and container. Yet there are security functions that log activity on your Tendenci site, that if you were to use it for tracking with AI or sell your data, it could potentially be against the GDPRs regulations. Talk to your attorney about this.

For example PCI best practices require dual logging and analysis of the logs for security reasons. There is no direct identifying data in web logs, but they would obviously include things like the IP address to block DDoS attacks.

These logs are never sold or accessed by anyone but our security team to trouble shoot the application and provide feedback to the administrators. Remember, you have the same user interface and front end functionality that our team does if you host with us. Zero difference. And the logs do not contain any identifying information such as an email or name.

We are NOT lawyers, Thus it is up to YOU to determine how you manage your data. We do not, nor have we ever, sold client data to third parties.

 

Tendenci Transparency Report – Why isn’t Wild Apricot Posting One?

red bird

Yup, AMS transparency reporting is critically important. And perhaps also equally a bit boring. After all, you are looking for what is MISSING.

In Tendenci – the Open Source AMS’ latest transparency report, yup, nothing has changed. Yea!

And given Tendenci AMS is fully open source and still building for the future , well, it’s pretty clear what our position is. We believe in open source and transparency.

What other MAJOR AMS can you self deploy on the servers of your choice? In the data center of your choice? In the country of your choice? With the encryption and firewall restrictions of YOUR CHOICE. That’s the beauty of open source.

And the price starts at zero. It. Is. Fully. Open. Source.

What is Wild Apricot’s transparency report? After all, they are recently touted as the new kid on the block. Welcome! Yet what is their position on transparency?

Disclaimer in defense of Wild Apricot – in all fairness, AMS systems take a solid 10 years to write. They really are doing a great job catching up, I’m only addressing transparency in this post.  Plus at Tendenci, we love a good strong new competitor adding value for NPOs/NGOs and Associations. We love that they are leveling up. All we’re saying is, let’s see their transparency reports? Why not be open source?

And yes, that is a challenge. Step up people!

Regarding Open Source – hey, why not support local: Tendenci pricing starts at ZERO ($0.00). Many people host in the Tendenci Cloud at AWS because we’re a good fit. Yet, our hosting pricing might not work for you in your country, right?

If so, then why not support a local developer in your community? Help build your home country’s tech sector by supporting your local developers!

Back to the business stuff – we have updated our latest transparency report. No changes. (check mark in the “no changes=good” column folks!)
https://www.tendenci.com/transparencyreporting/

Even though the competition is (mostly) NOT truly free and open source, that doesn’t mean they can’t be responsible and tell you if they have turned over your data. It does mean that any proprietary vendor offering free services is selling your data.

Is your AMS handing over, or monitoring, all of your data? Perhaps to the highest bidder or to the country of origin? You have a right to know.

Seriously, if any sector in the world needs responsible disclosure, it’s the association and non-profit/NGO sector.

Truly AMS (association management systems) / association management software in our opinion. Thus, the small team, and the large community at Tendenci, challenge our competitors to be transparent!

Yes, we understand that warrant canaries aren’t completely cut and dried. But at least a good faith effort? Why are other AMS systems not posting transparency reports?

If the FBI stated that NGOs/NPOs/Associations were the first target of the Russian propaganda campaign to influence the US elections, then I personally take issue with this.

NOTE: Propaganda and motives of foreign countries does NOT mean collusion. Collusion, and hopefully there wasn’t any, is not a topic we are addressing at all. (That’s for the politicians and the courts to figure out. We’re just programmers trying to do good.)

Thus the CHALLENGE to other AMS SaaS providers: Post your Transparency Reports!

Really, we call on all of the alternatives to Tendenci to adopt a transparency reporting policy.

Why not? Even proprietary companies can be transparent, right?

Why hide anything from your clients, open source or not? We don’t get it. End users don’t have to, and shouldn’t, tolerate hidden data disclosure.

Transparency reporting is just one more reason we’re passionate about helping associations and non-profits with their causes! We try to take the high road. Yet now, it’s not just about data collection, data mining, cross site tracking, Russian to popular AMS systems, it’s about just having integrity to tell people what is going on.

Associations, and therefore association management software, is important in every country. That’s why Tendenci is Open Source and currently supports 75 languages!

Yes, stay with your trusted local developer. Just please fast check them and demand access to your code, access to all of your data, demand access to your rights. And yes, demand transparency.

That’s how we roll at Tendenci – brutally open and honest, full access, association management. You know, kind of like WordPress is for blogs and CMS. Open!

At Tendenci, we recognize the value of the work you do. And we believe you deserve OPEN. In fact, we think open is baseline.

We hope you do too. Because Associations matter. You matter. #rockon #demandTransparency #ams #associationmanagement #asae #associationchat

Tendenci AMS API Integration

Python Rules

For more on The Open Source AMS integration via API visit our AMS API Helpfile

Tendencithe Open Source AMS is unique in that it is fully open source. However at times people would prefer to use an API to pull specific information. For that Django has several API integrations for your Association Management System such as:

django-tasty-pie is a REST based API to your AMS
https://github.com/django-tastypie/django-tastypie
The Django Rest Framework is also something the Tendenci community has been discussing switching to it as well.
http://www.django-rest-framework.org/

API’s aren’t mutually exclusive after all, right? You have options.

There are legitimate reasons to use an API. Examples include integration between a legacy mainframe system, ecommerce, or a development team that has chosen a different platform such as .NET or PHP.

Tendenci doesn’t meet all of the functional requirements for everyone by design. Instead we work with great technology like machine learningThe open AMS community isn’t focused on reinventing the wheel. It just doesn’t make economic sense for a non-profit, or even a for profit company, to reinvent Amazon.com or Ebay.com. This is particularly true if you are causes-based association or non-profit given the expense.

Does Tendenci AMS work with other providers? Absolutely. Any provider with an API or that supports SSO or RSS or has their own technology like google tag manager.

Non profits don’t have money to waste. Therefore we aligned our product to major industry supported technology.

Our technology stack as of 2018 is:

  1. Tendenci
  2. Django Web Framework
  3. Javascript and jquery
  4. Bootstrap CS
  5. Python Programming Language
  6. Postgres Database with GIS
  7. Docker Containers
  8. Ubuntu

For more on The Open Source AMS integration via API visit our AMS API Helpfile or read up on everything Tendenci Works With. Or if you aren’t into open source, there are definitely alternatives to Tendenci.

If you do pick an alternative, we suggest you consider Security FIRST and go from there.

NonProfits and Associations Love Tendenci

Tendenci Association Websites

Written specifically for the NPO/Association market, Tendenci has continued to grow and adapt to meet the specific needs of these groups. From building on an open source framework that allows complete freedom  – to mobile responsive software design – to online forums and newsletter features that keep the community involved, Tendenci continues to invest in the NPO sector. And the NPO’s have responded!

We are pleased to continue our relationship with the following organizations that have recently released upgraded websites and extend a warm welcome to those that are new to the Tendenci community.

  1. University and College Designers Association Selects Tendenci for New Membership Website

    UCDA Tendenci Website

  2. Groundwater Resources Association of California Launches Tendenci Membership Management Website

    GRAC Tendenci Website

  3. The Children’s Assessment Center of Houston Releases New Mobile Tendenci Website

    CAC Houston Tendenci Website

  4. American Association of Singapore Launches Upgraded Mobile Tendenci Website For Their Membership

    AA Singapore Tendenci Website

  5. American Citizens Abroad, Inc. Launches Tendenci Membership Management Website

    American Citizens Abroad Tendenci Website

  6. Rice University Energy and Environment Initiative (EEi) Presents Transformative Solutions with New Website

    Rice University EEI Tendenci Website

  7. International Association of Directional Drilling Chooses Tendenci for Fast Launch of Member Website

    IADD Tendenci Website

Why Tendenci Chose Python over PHP

Note: this is a repost from the eschipul.com blog and also lives as a help file on Tendenci.

This blog is a WordPress blog written in PHP. And WordPress, which is written in PHP is a great platform when secured properly.

So why did our team choose to rewrite Tendenci Open Source and in the Python Programming language? It is a question I get asked a lot. We’ve never been a company that likes to talk in the negative if at all possible, yet it is important to talk about the megatrends going on given we work with associations and nonprofits.

Python Growing in Academia
Why Python instead of PHP for Tendenci

Source: https://www.upguard.com/blog/which-web-programming-language-is-the-most-secure

programming vulnerabilities
Vulnerabilities in each language

Source: http://info.whitehatsec.com/rs/whitehatsecurity/images/statsreport2014-20140410.pdf

security-report

Source: http://info.whitehatsec.com/rs/whitehatsecurity/images/statsreport2014-20140410.pdf

Popularity of a language is a trend, and what you want is as many developers familiar and liking the language of your open source project as possible. This means you have a better chance to have a secure web site and therefore a more secure future.

To be fair – as Disraeli said – “lies, damn lies and statistics” – so there is no one perfectly secure language any more than there is a perfectly “safe” hammer. There will always be operator error and programmers make mistakes.

So we’re not saying Python is perfect, and all of us have used most of the other languages on those charts at some point. We’re just saying we are pleased so many other programmers also like Python and Open Source. THAT is the best that can be done to secure your future online. Secure code that you can examine yourself and even host yourself!

Addendum: As I post this on the Tendenci Blog. Given we focus on non-profits, associations, memberships, education, medical, religious – basically the do-good cause-based organizations, I believe it is particularly important that the project is as transparent as possible. Sometimes it is healthy to inform everyone of WHY we made a decision seven years ago. Python was the right call.

Tendenci Exports – Plus Easy Ways to Make Static Copies of Your Site

Today’s Tendenci community knowledge share. Here are three very easy free or low cost methods of making a static copy a web site. Use with caution, just know you have the power.

On Windows you can use HTTrack https://www.httrack.com/

HTTrack_Website_Copier_-_Free_Software_Offline_Browser__GNU_GPL_
Download a static version of a web site to your PC

On a Mac computer you can use sitesucker ($5) http://ricks-apps.com/osx/sitesucker/index.html

SiteSucker to download a static site to your Mac Computer
SiteSucker to download a static site to your Mac Computer

On the go? You can also use sitesucker from the app store to download to your iphone or ipad for $2 http://ricks-apps.com/ios/sitesucker/index.html

Use IOS to download your site for $2
Use IOS to download your site for $2

Of course for structured data in Tendenci, there are TONS of ways to export including exporting a copy of your entire database. There are help files on common exports like How to export your membership . There are too many options to list them all, but I’d encourage you to visit the support center or just google “tendenci exports” for more.

If you are on version 5 and want to “kick the tires” on Tendenci version 7, use https://demo.tendenci.com – you can login here https://demo.tendenci.com/accounts/login/ using “admin/admin” or “user/user”. It does reset every hour or so because of spammers but you can still get a feel for it. A HUGE upgrade from version 5.

Tendenci Admin Default Dashboard
Tendenci Admin Default Dashboard

There is also a previous post on making a static copy of your site here that is a bit more technical as well.

Why do we point out all of the ways to copy your Tendenci site (or most sites really)? Doesn’t that make it easier to leave?

Yes. Yes it does. BUT people rarely leave. Or if they do, they typically stay on Tendenci and self host. They’re still part of the Tendenci community which helps us all.

Another reason we promote exports and offsite backups is because we know the more freedom you have, realizing you have that freedom especially on the Tendenci open source platform, makes it less likely for clients to leave.

Think about it. Why would anyone who actually understands their product is open, does far more than other options, is lower cost, and they can self host if they want… why would that person make the decision to leave? It’s illogical.

I mean, who wants to be the President of an Association that takes it backwards in time to proprietary technology or an older open source software built on an unpopular programming language? That’s not in the best interests of the association long term.

Tendenci is written in Python and uses Java and Javascript libraries. This linked chart says it all.

programming-popularity-2016
THE 8 MOST IN-DEMAND PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES OF 2016

Popular programming languages means more coders for open source projects written in that language. And more capable people to modify and customize your install if you choose.

One of our goals is FREEDOM from the tyranny of per-user-licensing, proprietary products that want to own YOUR DATA, long term contracts, sites that post your events on THEIR site so if you leave then the history of that event is gone in the blink of an eye. Companies don’t own your data and they shouldn’t trap you.

We think that is unethical and just wrong.

Membership Management Software should be Open Source, Accessible, Responsive, and Search Engine friendly by default. Tendenci does all of those things.

Further we believe that Open Source Membership Management Software should be written in a Modern Programming Language like Python (watch out for bunnies) and the software should documented and open source (free, as in beer.) Even the US Government likes Open Source!

Want to change something? Get involved! Post on the forums at https://ww.tendenci.com/forums or post an issue at https://github.com/tendenci/tendenci/issues . If you are a programmer or into documentation, submit a pull request.

We make it easy to leave because we hope you don’t. Hence Tendenci has an incredibly low churn rate. That creates stability you can count on.

#peace

Our first transparency report

probably not a canary

We just posted the Tendenci government transparency report for January 1 to June 30, 2016 to our site. Nothing to report, but a new process put in place keeping with the values of the Tendenci community.

Why? Because all companies that store information, like electric companies, phone companies, email providers, search engines, etc, must respond to requests from the government. That includes us. The solution is transparency reporting because we think you have a right to know.

Tendenci Transparency ReportingWhy now? The (previous) absence of transparency reporting including a canary clause was brought up at a recent convention. We listened to you. We agree with you. So we fixed it. It’s pretty boring and let’s hope it stays that way.

Thank you to the client who asked about it! Tendenci is a community and we appreciate dialog that helps the community. Y’all rock!

You can find Tendenci’s transparency reports at https://www.tendenci.com/transparencyreporting/

What’s next? We would love to hear from you about your best practices for data retention. If you are willing to share, please post those in the Tendenci forums.

DBSA Houston goes Mobile and Responsive with Tendenci’s Tech

Note: If you have arrived at this page from a search result, this is about the launch of the new web site. Thus

If you are in need of IMMEDIATE crisis services, please call
the Harris Center 24-hr Hotline at (713) 970-7000. If you are
seeking ongoing support visit http://www.dbsahouston.org/

From the news release:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston Revamps Website for Better Accessibility

HOUSTON, February 12, 2016 –Tendenci (www.tendenci.com), the software development company spearheading the Tendenci Open Source platform for associations and other nonprofits (NPOs), is proud to release a dynamic new website for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston. The website, http://www.dbsahouston.org, sponsors free and confidential support groups in the Greater Houston area for individuals suffering from depression and bipolar disorder and the family and friends that support them….

DBSA Houston
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston Revamps Website for Better Accessibility

From the DBSA Houston website:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston provides free and confidential support groups for individuals living with, or family and friends affected by, depression and bipolar disorders. Our support groups are also offered to family members, caregivers and friends who are trying to understand these two difficult mental disorders as they try to assist loved ones.

If you, or someone you love, or friends with is in pain, please point them to resources like DBSA Houston for support (or google one in your area.)

import cost data for roi with google analytics

Google recently announced a partnership with Owox’s data importer for analytics making it available for free. Specifically you can now import costs, or other data pretending to be costs such as number of event attendees, to compare in google analytics.

owox-data-importer

You can get the importer from the chrome store here. And read more about it on the owox site here.

For example, if you are using Google Grants for Nonprofits you could similarly export Tendenci’s event registration dollars from your site and import that for further analysis. Lots of possibilities.

BARC Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes

This Thursday and Friday, our own photo rockstar Brian Potter along with Forsythe Fotography and Hassan Nadji Films, produced a photo series for our client BARC, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control for the City of Houston.

BARC is the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Facility. BARC is the only city shelter in Houston required by law to accept every animal that comes through our doors regardless of breed, temperament, health conditions, and circumstance. BARC contracted Schipul to provide marketing and branding consultation for a complete identity redesign. Over the last year, Schipul has produced a multi-media campaign titled “Find Your Spark at BARC” which includes three videos, “Pet Deposit“, “Text Messaging” and “BARC Houston: Our Story“.

We would like to get a shout out to the awesome people over at Discovery Green, The Boneyard Drinkery, and Skyline Studios for letting us their space.

Check out the full photo album on Schipul.com!

BARC photo shoot 1 - Schipul

BARC photo shoot 2 - Schipul

BARC photo shoot 4 - Schipul

BARC photo shoot 3 - Schipul

See more adorable photos in our Behind the Scenes photo album!