Request for Proposals: Apios Wiki 3.0

Request for Proposals:

Apios Wiki 3.0

Website Upgrade RFP & Specification - Version 1.5 July 17, 2014

Request for Proposals


Apios Institute, Inc. formally requests proposals from qualified web development professionals for the upgrade & redevelopment of This document contains the desired specifications for the project.


If you or your firm is interested, please submit a brief initial proposal (no more than 1 page), along with a portfolio of related work, to Proposals should include a rough work-plan, timeline, and estimated cost. Proposals must be received by September 30, 2014. Proposals will be reviewed and requests for complete proposals will be issued by October 7, 2014.


Introduction and Purpose


Apios Institute Inc., a Massachusetts Not-for-profit Corporation, seeks a competent and attentive Drupal (or Ruby-on-Rails) team to redevelop it’s multi-functional website


The organization’s mission is:


  • To share experience and knowledge about perennial crop polyculture systems for all climates,

  • through a collaborative network of farmers, gardeners, and researchers,

  • in order to fill critical knowledge gaps regarding the design and management of these systems.


The website is the core instrument through which the organization seeks to achieve this mission. The website is designed as a wiki-like environment where users from around the world can learn about perennial crop polycultures and contribute their own experiences to enrich the site.


Desired Functionality


Universal Platforms


Rather than attempting to design a separate App to interact with the Apios Institute website, we would like our website itself to be designed for easy usability on personal computers, tablets, and smartphones.


The Wiki Itself


At the most basic level, there are three interrelated content types on the wiki:

  • Species

  • Polycultures

  • Sites


A brief description of each is followed by a schematic diagram showing the main desired layout of each content type.




This content type is a summary description of a living plant, animal, or fungal species. It likely makes sense for there to be a unique content type for Plant, Animal, and Fungi - each will have different fields associated with it. There are a finite number of species.





This content type is a composed of multiple Plant, Animal, and Fungal species. The basic idea is that these are assemblies of multiple species in the same space at the same time, in a pattern that could be replicated in various locations around the world. There are an infinite number of possible Polycultures.




This content type is a composed of multiple Species and Polycultures. The basic idea is that each site is a unique forest garden / food forest / homegarden in a unique location. These sites should be geo-referenced, so that we can eventually show a map of all sites in the wiki. There are an infinite number of possible Sites. (Note: this content type is called a “Forest Garden” in the current implementation.”



These three primary content types must automatically link to one another, so that a user can easefully click from a Species, to a Polyculture that species is included in, to a Site that has that Polyculture, to a different Species on that Site.


Other Wiki Features


  • Fields

    • Apios Institute has developed a comprehensive set of fields for each content type. Information is entered into these fields by users upon content creation OR automatically via administrator import functions (See Existing Content & Content Transferability below.)

  • Searchability

    • Ideally, an easy-to-use search function will allow users to quickly filter through all of the fields in all of the content to find what they are looking for. (Like what other website have this?!?)

  • Content Type Lists

    • For each main content type, a full list of current content should be available that is organized alphabetically by common name, latin name, recency of activity, or other factors as chosen by the user.

  • Climate

    • There is an upper-level content type descriptor called ‘Climate’ that identifies the different climates in which various species, polycultures, and sites are located or could tolerate being located. It is envisioned that each user would choose a default Climate, and that the website would automatically filter the content that each users see by this Climate choice.

    • This will sometimes be complicated by species that can tolerate a range of climate zones. For example, Plant Species Mulberry, which grows in temperate, arid, subtropical, and tropical climates; or Animal Species Chicken, which also thrives around the world.

  • Forums

    • It would be great to have forums for the site for users to discuss and interact with each other.

  • Page Access Flexibility

    • Any individual content may be chosen by Adminstrators to be either available to the global public for Free or only available to those users who pay to become members.

  • Terms of Use

    • Apios must develop a ‘Terms of Use’ page that members are required to  agree to. This should include a standard license (Creative Commons? Standard Copyright?) for all media on the wiki. This could also include a disclaimer or agreement to limit the organization’s liability.


Administrative Functions


The most important aspect of the administrative side of this website is that all users:

  • Become a wiki member by paying a fee (currently $25)

  • Automatically renew that fee on an annual basis.


Additionally, it is important for administrators to be able to easefully search for users in a variety of ways (by name, email, role, etc.) and then email them.


In the current implementation, these functions are handled through CiviCRM. We are not certain that this is the best option going forward and are open to new design solutions.


Non-wiki Apios Institute Pages


The website will also contain a small set of non-wiki pages which may either be static or dynamically updated from the wiki but not editable to anyone except admin. These will mainly provide basic information about the organization, and provide a pathway for people to evaluate the wiki and purchase access.


Some of these pages should automatically be fed streams of activity from the rest of the wiki:


  • Front Page

    • A box of ‘Recent Wiki Activity’ should have three columns that are automatically updated:

      • “New Species & Polycultures”

      • “New Users & Sites”

      • “New Reports & Comments” (new additions to any species, polycultures, sites)

    • Automatically-rotating ‘Featured Species, Polyculture, or Sites’.

  • All pages

    • Automatically-rotating space for advertisements from Sponsors or Advertisers, customized to particular climate zones.

      • E.g. a tropical plants nursery should display on Tropical-climate content pages.


We would also like add a ‘News’ Blog page that can contain blog-specific posts or content promoted from the wiki to ‘News’ status.


Existing Content & Content Transferability


One important aspect of this website upgrade is that we have a huge amount of excellent content created over the last 5 years on this website. Keeping that content alive and transferring it into the new site’s structure is essential.


Along with the content, it would be great if it were possible to seamlessly transfer over the current wiki members to the new system, along with the dates when they joined and therefore the date for automatic membership renewal.


Additionally, it would be of great value to administrators if there were a straightforward way to import and export content from the website database. For example, a current board member would like to contribute a new (bento) database of plant species to Apios Wiki. Rather than enter each new species manually, an automatic route would be prefered.

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