The Basic Meeting List Toolbox

Basic BMLT Philosophy

The BMLT was designed with a few very basic philosophies in mind, and it’s important to remember these when you set up a system.

NOTE: Here’s a story on the genesis of the BMLT, and some of the thought process that went into its creation and design.

The BMLT Has Been Designed for Delegated Service
The BMLT is a “crowdsourced” system. It has extensive capabilities to set up logins with very carefully constrained capabilities. Only those specifically authorized to edit certain meetings can do so.
This allows an RSC (for example) that maintains the central database of meetings, to assign individual ASC administrators to take care of just their own set of meetings. This has some very specific advantages:

  • Those who actually attend the meetings, or those familiar with the local geography, are the ones that¬†maintain those meetings. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
  • It makes a big job into several small jobs by delegating discrete portions of the job. “Divide and conquer.” This is how a database with two thousand meetings can be easily managed. It is the very essence of “crowdsourcing.”
  • It greatly speeds up response time. No need to “run it up the hierarchy.” The changes are managed quickly, by local Trusted Servants.
  • This is a concrete implementation of Traditions Two, Four and Seven. This allows Groups to be as autonomous as possible, and allows them to manage their local¬†assets while charting their own course. NA should decentralize as much as possible; just as a general posture. The Groups are the boss, and this is a concrete way to implement that.
The BMLT is a Meeting Search, not a Group Search.
Groups are Service entities. They are groups of NA members that have banded together in order to Carry The Message. They do this by holding NA Meetings.
For the purposes of the BMLT, NA Meetings are regularly-occurring (at least once per week) events, in which a Group gathers and opens its doors to NA members and interested non-NA members (via open NA meetings).
Most people in the world look for NA Meetings. The concept of an NA Group is mainly of interest to those involved in NA Service. NA World Services is interested in Groups, as it is a Service entity. Most people, however, are interested in Meetings. The BMLT is a simple device for helping to get people to NA Meetings.
The BMLT was designed specifically as an NA Meeting Search; nothing more. It is not an event calendar, Service Body Administration Tool or a vehicle for Service communications. It is imperative that a narrow focus be kept on the BMLT’s principal goal: To help addicts to get to regularly-scheduled NA Meetings.
That said, there have been creative ways that the BMLT has been used in capacities other than a pure meeting search. For example, NA Minnesota has devised a way to use it to track Service volunteers. Which brings us to our next point…
The BMLT is Flexible
One of NA’s most endearing (and often frustrating) characteristics, is that we are a VERY diverse collection of individuals; with widely-varying priorities, cultures, languages, and environments.
A central tenet of the BMLT is that it is not a “one size fits all” solution. It is meant to be bent, folded, spindled and mutilated to fit the needs of the Groups that will implement it.
It is easily localizable (translatable into other languages), and allows great flexibility in devising formats and the structure of its administration.
The BMLT is also designed to allow many ways for it to be integrated into existing Service structures and Web sites. It was designed specifically to fit YOU, not the other way around.
The BMLT is Easy To Use
One of the biggest drivers for the creation of the BMLT, was frustration with the tools already in place for this kind of thing. It is designed to be easy to use; especially in the “behind the curtain” administration. You should not have to be very technical at all to be able to use and manage the BMLT.
The BMLT is Secure
Security is something that has been designed into the BMLT from Day One. It isn’t Fort Knox, but there’s also no need for that level of security.
That said, the BMLT is more secure than a lot of content management systems out there. It has a number of attributes that have been designed in to protect it from your average attacker.
The BMLT is 100% Open, and 100% Free
The BMLT is a completely open-source system. Its entire structure; from bottom to top, is available for access and modification by anyone. The license for the code is GPL V3, which states that it must be completely open, and anyone extending and republishing it, must contribute to the code base by making their work open. There is no way that it can be “hijacked” by individuals or Groups.
The BMLT is not an official NA resource. However, as soon as it is adopted and set up by a registered NA Service body, it becomes one.
No renumeration is asked for the BMLT. It is Free. That simple. It is merely paying NA back for gifts beyond all measure.
Of course, being an open system, it can be used by folks that could add value (such as installation and support), and that might charge for that. However, this site is run by the original authors of the BMLT, and we will never charge for it.
That said, some Service bodies have policy that they must pay for their services. If they cannot reconcile the free, open nature of the BMLT (Consider it a standard open source project, just like WordPress or Apache.), then the cost is exactly one (1) US Dollar. In order to reduce the cost further, we ask that this money be placed into a collection basket in a local meeting.
“Open” doesn’t just mean “Open Source.” It also means that the entire development and maintenance process is completely open. No secrets. No hidden agendas. No “secret sauce.” It’s all there. The source is kept in a series of Git repositories (and one SVN repository), with a full record of all changes ever made to it.
Additionally, every single release is announced on Twitter, and documented in the project README.
The code is heavily commented, and designed to be documented by Doxygen. You can easily generate a comprehensive set of documents that will give you a full insight to the project.
The BMLT is “Seventh Tradition Clean”
We do not accept work from non-NA members. If we use code obtained elsewhere, it is from publicly-available FOSS (Free Open-Source Software) projects. No donations of code or intellectual property are accepted from non-NA sources. All code in the BMLT is completely unhampered by any license beyond the GPL.
The BMLT is Independent, Autonomous and Standalone
A very important aspect of the BMLT is that it should never be controlled by folks with agendas not directly aligned with the simple, basic aim of helping people get to NA meetings. There are a lot of “factions” in NA that could see a tool like the BMLT as something to be used to enforce their will. The BMLT needs to stay above that. As a result, we keep the BMLT as an independent project, “outside the Service structure.”
The BMLT is a Full-Fat Infrastructure Platform
As an infrastructure system, it needs to be stable, ubiquitous and accessible. The code is industrial-strength; both in design and quality. It is kept in solid, distributed version control systems, and has been developed by a strict software engineering process that maximizes quality and robustness.
The BMLT was designed to be extended. Because of powerful features like our Semantic Interfaces, and our open-source software repositories, there are, literally, hundreds of ways that you can interface with the BMLT.
Don’t like our offerings? Write your own.
The BMLT is a system that is designed to be used by multiple NA Service bodies, and will be used by thousands of people. It must work simply, work well, and work reliably.
Quality is Job One, Two, Three, Four…etc.
Most NA Web projects are of…less than professional…quality, when it comes to the “behind the curtain” work. This is quite common in Web development. The advent of professional software engineering practices is very new to Web development, and a majority of Web sites are still quite chaotic, behind the curtain.
Not so, the BMLT. The BMLT adheres to strict, modern Software Engineering practices. We use modern, proven design patterns, use disciplined configuration management, have coding standards, rigorous testing, and are responsive to bug reports.
We take the quality of the BMLT very, very seriously. Lives depend upon it.

Find out where you can get your very own BMLT…