Drupal Stories is a new Acquia series that tells stories from our most valuable audience: Drupalists. We are observing massive progress as more people harness the power of Drupal to create rich digital experiences, changing businesses, communities, and lives. We could not be more proud of your work, and we thank you for continuing to share it with us.
Based in the US and a Drupalist for almost 10 years, Michael Stenta is the creator of Farmier and the lead developer of farmOS, a Drupal distribution platform that helps farmers host and update their farmOS systems (https://farmOS.org / https://drupal.org/project/farm).
He shared with us he began this project about six years ago to help farmers and related organizations to make their data management easier with Drupal, and it grew quickly from there. The concept is very cool: FarmOS is a standard platform for farmers to create flexible farm planning, record keeping, and data management and provides tools for mapping, asset and activity tracking, and planning. The priorities are data ownership, interoperability, and ease-of-use, along with the ability to share data via API with other systems/services.
FarmOS is being used by farmers for their production activities and by researchers to collect agricultural research data. However, Stenta noted he seeks to ensure a “farmer first" philosophy as one of the main goals and tenants of the project, though the data can be also shared with researchers. The project is FOSS, meaning the farmer's privacy and data rights come first.
“I was inspired to create farmOS because I wanted a system for my own record keeping and planning purposes and also because I have strong beliefs about the role of agriculture in our human systems,” said Stenta. “I sought to use Drupal because it provides the best tools for building a highly flexible and self-customizable web-based user interface, thus allowing for rapid evolution and experimentation throughout the development process. In the world of agriculture, there is a lot of variation in practices, so the flexibility helps greatly.”
How Did You Build That?
All of the initial development was done by Stenta, and numerous other groups, as part of farmOS, have contributed resources to push it forward.
He explained, “The farmOS server is built on top of Drupal, which makes it modular, extensible, and secure. Further, a client app is also in the works to provide native (Android/iOS) and offline functionality. Both are licensed under the GNU General Public License, which means they are free and open source.”
When asked what excites him most about the future of technology and the digital experience, Stenta described a sense of excitement about the future of open source:
“I am excited about open source decoupled web applications with offline local storage. Remote and rural areas often have limited internet access, so being able to work offline is helpful.”