Technical Update

AidStream Technical Update 2023

3 June, 2024

In the beginning of the year, quarterly plans were made to optimise AidStream’s system that ranged from UI/UX enhancement to DevOps optimisation. The technical team have provided a brief about these updates and why they were necessary:-

Technical Updates

1. Activity Date UI updates

Previously, the activity date element page was implemented in a blade file and used the Laravel form builder package for the form generation process. This made changing anything related to the form difficult and rigid at many times. So, updates were made to the UI to avoid rigidness. Vue was integrated in the form that helped to make it more flexible and accepting of changes. Moreover, the start date and end date has been separated into two different forms for user’s ease.

2. Digital Ocean migration

AidStream system has now been migrated to Kubernetes cluster and is subscribed to Digital Ocean services. This move of the system from AWS was done to achieve better app stability, increased DevOps efficiency, better resource utilisation and exact point in time database recovery. For this move to take place, the php version was upgraded from 7.3 to 8.1 and laravel from 8 to 10. This system update will help to maintain better security and provide better services. Likewise, the file storage location has been changed from AidStream server to AWS to reduce the size and the impact of the server for reading and writing files.

3. Activity publishing process

Activity publishing is one of the major and most important features provided by AidStream. To easily publish large files, the processing time has been upgraded to use a queue while publishing any activity. This will allow to publish large files without any error regardless of its file size. With this improvement, the publishing process takes place in the background instead of during runtime and thus helps to avoid connection timeout.

4. User Sandbox

User Sandbox is a new feature that allows users to create a new type of account called Test user alongside Standard user account.

Currently, creating a Standard user account requires a Publisher ID which is provided by IATI after an organisation is verified; which might be lengthy at times. So, organisations waiting for to get registered to the IATI Registry can sign up on AidStream for a test account.

The test user account includes (almost) all the features present in the Standard account such as:

- Activity Checklist for custom Activity creation form

- Activity validator that meets the IATI standard

- Importing activities from a CSV or XML file

Limitations of a test account:

- Can be accessed by only one user

- Users cannot publish to IATI Registry with a test account

- Users cannot access the PRO or TRIAL features

Users can easily transfer their organisation and all their activities to a standard account and be ready to publish once their organisation gets registered to the IATI Registry i.e., after they get their Org ID and Publisher ID.

For organisations with a verified IATI account, they can create a Standard account and their organisation information is automatically filled using the IATI registry information. They can also choose to create a PRO account or try PRO features with the 30 day TRIAL.

This tightens AidStream’s security as sandbox users are hosted in a separate server. Therefore, only organisations that have been verified by the IATI Registry can register and login the standard AidStream account.

5. OTP(One Time Pin) verification

OTP-based verification is another feature that has been implemented during the (new) registration process. OTP or One-time Pin is a 6-digit randomly generated code that is sent to the user’s email and can be used to verify the account after registration. In case the user does not verify their account immediately, they will be asked to do so the next time they try to login. The OTP expires in 3 minutes in order to make the account more secure.

Result XLS Import Functionality

XLS import functionality for result element has been enhanced with several updates. Previously, only activity specific import was possible for results. This enhancement allows bulk result import i.e., results of more than one activity can be imported in one go. Likewise, the enhancement has brought new templates for XLS and improved validation.

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