Build.Kiva Blog

How We Moved from Subversion to Git / GitHub

In February and March, 2012, Kiva moved from Subversion to Git. We're six years old and have used Subversion from the beginning. For a few years, there has been a growing urge to move to Git. Engineers had a mixture of reasons, but I think it was mostly wanting to use the newest, coolest thing. We didn't have a "Git wizard", but a few of us had used it before in various contexts.

Kiva Engineering: Tools of the Agile Trade

At Kiva, our development process is based on Scrum - with work broken into two week Sprints (we call them "Iterations"). We're good students of Scrum in some regards (we do release every two weeks, without fail), and bad students of Scrum in others (it seems like we still bite off more than we can chew in each iteration). Like most Scrum teams, the center of our universe is our ticket tracking system. We use Redmine - albeit a rather customized version. We've put quite a bit of time and effort into our ticket tracking system - so we thought we'd give you a tour.

Kiva Engineering: Innovation Iteration

At Kiva, we tend to attract and hire engineers with a strong creative, entrepreneurial streak.  This aligns well with Kiva’s office culture - and with our overall mission - an innovative, technology-driven approach to alleviating poverty.  However, as the team grows and we become more specialized in an effort to become more efficient, sometimes our day to day work doesn’t always give us an outlet for our creative sides.  After a long project involving concepts like currency exchange loss, it’s easy to feel like you spend your entire working life chasing a few misbehaving pennies around the globe, and that your particular slice of the Kiva pie has become a little divorced from the glorious big picture. In June 2010, many of us were finishing up some pretty tough projects, and as a team, we were in a bit of a funk. We talked as a team about what we could do to restore our energy and excitement.  Our solution was an idea called “Innovation Iteration”. Innovation Iteration was inspired Google’s 20 Percent Time - and we do indeed spend 20% of our time in Innovation Iterations.  However, there are two important differences to the Kiva approach:

Kiva Engineering 2010 : A Year in Review

2010 was a year of growth for Kiva Engineering.  We started the year with 8 full time engineers (and 2 managers) and ended the year with 14 engineers - a growth rate of 75%.  We also kicked off 2010 with a switch to a new ticket tracking system (Redmine), that allowed us to more accurately track exactly what we've been up to.  Let's take a look shall we.... 

Implementing a CSS Grid

The engineering team at Kiva is going through the process of examining the rich set of technologies available for improving user experiences on Kiva's website.  One such technology is the CSS grid. I recently spent some time evaluating and reading up on some of the different options that are out there, ultimately whittling down to 4 CSS grids that seemed to represent a good spectrum of what grids have to offer.

Upcoming Change for "Delinquency Rate"

On Monday Nov 15th, in an effort to better conform to industry standards, Kiva will be changing the definition of "Delinquency Rate" appearing on www.kiva.org site and in the /partner section of the API. Please refer to the Kiva blog for more detailed information come Monday.

oEmbed for Kiva Loans

If you're an avid Twitter user, you may have already noticed Kiva loans popping up in your timeline. So now even Twitter's using the Kiva API? Sorta… we actually created a new web service just for our friends across SoMA, but it's based on an open standard that anyone can use. It's called oEmbed and it looks like this: http://www.kiva.org/services/oembed?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kiva.org%2Flend%2F99871&format=json Pass in any Kiva URL and we'll return an embeddable object (HTML, image, etc.) if it's available. You can detect if a page is embeddable by checking for a LINK tag in the HEAD of the html document with type application/json+oembed. Currently, only loans are embeddable and they're rendered as HTML similar to the example below.

Kiva tests out its new Partner API (with video!)

Yes, it's been way too long since we've posted to the blog - and along the way a lot of cool new apps have popped up, including a re-launch of Kivabank.org and the reincarnation of one of our first projects from the Kiva Developer Garage as a French front door to Kiva, Kiva en Français. However, it took this great video (posted first to the Kiva blog) to get me off my haunches for a new post. Check out this awesome preview to the new 

Behind the Apps: Humsara (Kiva Lender badge in Flash)

We were excited to see a new app roll out this week-- created by developer Amol Mittal from San Francisco.  When Amol noticed that the current Kiva badges were geared towards specific publishing platforms

Behind the Apps: Kiva Alerts

Hi there! My name is Vaibhav Domkundwar and I am an entrepreneur and founder of logo3, a small product incubation firm where we like to experiment with development very early stage concepts and products. We work with founders in the concept stages of their startups (most times the company is not even incorporated) as co-founders to prototype concepts, test, iterate and build customer-validated alpha versions.

LendingOnKiva