We wanted an application that we could use among family & extended family members to collaborate on various parts of our family trees. Although our own siblings share the same ancestors, our cousins share only some of our ancestors. We envisioned belonging to several groups, each focusing on the ancestors of a specific person in the FamilySearch Family Tree. Task management, discussions, and chat are essential to collaboration. There are several applications that provide services ranging from simple to-do list management to costly complex task management. Most collaboration applications were driven by and built for large enterprises. Many of these applications are missing the social components necessary for collaboration. Enterprise leaders have discovered that social technology greatly increases their overall productivity. We believe that families and small groups can also benefit from simplified enterprise features mixed with social, task management, and collaboration features. We wanted to build an easy-to-use, free to low cost social collaboration tool that could be used by a horizontal market of individuals, families, clubs, and small organizations of any type. Our goal was to include the social aspect of bringing people together with common interests, allowing them to have & save discussions, participate in live chat, and provide basic task management that included auto-routing of task steps. After seeing the innovator showdown invitation, we realized that collaboration on genealogy was just another great example of what our solution could do.

What it does

The Tribergy prototype allows a user to create a group that has a specific focus or goal. We call these groups Tribes. A Tribe can be private by invitation only, or public groups that others can find & join. The integration with the FamilySearch API allows Tribe creators to associate the Tribe with a specific person in the FamilySearch Family Tree. When other Tribergy members login with their FamilySearch credentials, Tribergy looks for common ancestors between the member and public Tribes. For example, you may start a Tribe for your great grandfather. Other Tribergy members may have an ancestor that is related to your great grandfather. When matches are found, the member is then shown a list of the matching Tribes and given the choice to join that Tribe. This ability to find others that are working on parts of your family tree is an invaluable tool that helps avoid duplication of data and effort, provides a platform for communication, sharing of ideas and resources, etc. Tribergy was designed to fit into any social collaboration environment and not just genealogy. It can be used to plan a family reunion, manage marketing efforts, and manage goals such as writing books, remodeling your kitchen and much, much more.

How we built it

In order to provide a true social collaboration experience, we wanted the web site to automatically update with changes made by other members. We wanted all data to be stored in the cloud so you can view it on your computer, tablet, or phone. The client is built using Javascript and AngularJS and uses a .NET API to manage cloud data. We used SignalR to provide dynamic update (push technology) to pages you are viewing with changes made by other members. This means, when a workflow task is ready for you to work on that it shows up in your queue without the need to refresh the page. The current release is a prototype built in 35 days (mostly nights) from conception to submission. Our development philosophy is to create minimal features, release to users then add features as desired rather than create a bloated, hard-to-use application.

Challenges we ran into

Time was our biggest obstacle. It was extremely difficult to create a working prototype that met our goals in just 35 days with only 2 people working nights. Creating a web site that is compatible with multiple web browsers was also a challenge but critical to our end goal.

What's next for Tribergy

Our submission is only the beginning of what we hope to accomplish. We have plans for some specific additions but will let users drive most of what’s done in the future. We plan on releasing prior to Rootstech 2016. In addition to having the integration to FamilySearch introduce Tribergy members to existing Tribes with common ancestry, we hope to add the ability to introduce Tribergy users that have common ancestors with each other. The GUI for showing matching relationships will also be enhanced for better clarity. We hope to enhance the Wiki page to show better task management reporting and facilitate gamification between Tribe members. Other improvements will include an actual flowchart diagram editor to create Workflow templates, enhanced role management, integration to Google Documents, ability to upload & discuss images, and social logins for Facebook and Google+ users, and much more!

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