Announcing Freevite

Steve and I have decided to write and package freevite. Freevite will be a web-based event invitation/RSVP system licensed under the GPL. Before we start, though, I’m soliciting suggestions on the program. As far as I know, there is no free-as-in-speech web-based invitation package, and the world sorely needs one as commercial proprietary competitors brainstorm new ways to build a revenue stream from their product. It shouldn’t be that hard or time consuming to code, and it seems to me that we need a free-software standard product for this.

The program will probably be coded in perl, and give the administrator the choice of a simple file-system based data storage system or MySQL/PostgreSQL for better performance and data integrity. It should be possible for the administrator to plop the perl script down in a cgi-bin directory and set the proper permissions on the data storage directory and have a totally functional system, but also provide options for more secure (e.g., against cross-site scripting vulnerabilites) and sophisticated installations. The program will also be available as a Debian package, and support various ways of doing site-wide and user-specific installations (this will be tricky—Debian doesn’t seem to have a good solution for having packaged perl scripts like blosxom run on a per-user basis).

Administrators can configure the system so that anyone can create an event or only authorized users can create an event. There will be configurable privacy settings—if the user doesn’t want the inviter to know they’ve opened the invitation, they can indicate that, and the inviter will also have the choice of deciding whether to track opened invitations at all. You will be able to respond to an invitation without any registration or authentication process (having received the token for your invitation by email), but eventually there will probably also be a way to create a persistent identity linked with an arbitrary number of email addresses if you desire.

All presentation will be done with mailman-like templates, and the package will ship with some standard, clean, templates. Content will be properly separated into stylesheets and HTML.

Everything will be HTML standards compliant, and should render properly in text-based web browsers like w3m. There will be no required Javascript or any plugins, although there might be some optional Javascript content (my web-based photo gallery software, salonify, works this way).

Please leave suggestions, ideas, or recommendations as comments to this entry or email me. If there already exists a free-as-in-speech product that does all this, please let me know and I’ll stop right now.


  1. Jaldhar Jan 28

    For a packaging-friendly framework for CGI scripts, look into CGI::Application. You put the majority of the code into a module which subclasses CGI::Application. The CGI script itself is just a small stub which uses the module and sets configuration parameters etc. This makes it easy to have multiple configurations in different places without duplicating code everywhere. It also has hooks for HTML::Template for seperating out presentation. Both these packages are available in Debian though C::A is a bit out of date. (I’ll probably do an NMU tonight.)

  2. Chad Jan 28

    Please don’t ignore the email gateway aspect of such systems. As much as web front-ends are great for average Joe/Jane, they’re a pain for hacker Bob. The Debian BTS was a beautiful piece of software because its primary medium of control was email. The web site suffered for a while because it was seen as a bit of an afterthought, but I would urge you not to think of the email aspect as an afterthought for freevite.

  3. dopey@debian Jan 28

    I’ve been using DaVite [] to do something similar. Its not quite ‘Free’, however.

  4. Ron Jan 28

    Working on something like this. Sent you an email w/more info…

  5. Tom Aug 27

    I’m pretty interested in this, wish Ron had made his progress public.

  1. Motherboard I’d Like to Fuck » Freevite doesn’t exist as freevite

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