Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 07:59
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Here’s a group posting from Alice with Progressive Technology Project, and Kyle and Sacha with Rayogram:

Once again Rayogram’s staff stepped it up with hosting our NYC meetup, provided wifi access, with Sacha and Kyle taking leads in facilitating advanced user and developer hands-on break outs. I facilitated the newbies’ hands-on and demo break out, where we were able to use training sets fashioned by the Civi core team.

Kudos to the Civi core team for putting together the training sites which made the civi experience more real for the newbies!

We had 19 people attending and I received positive responses around the new format of having breakout sessions with Q&A and hands on time based on skill and interest levels. Many folks felt they learned quite a bit and were able to get their questions answered by working on live examples. Some folks demonstrated their development sites and were able to get feedback and tips from the group.

Here’s what were discussed in the groups:

From Kyle’s group:

  • Using firebug ( for front end development
  • Developments in css for 3.1 release, specifically easier customization of front facing pages (specifically the contribution page) (no tables)
  • Showed a quick demo where we change the location of the labels from the left of the input fields to directly above them - it took three lines of css
  • Talked about the strategy for front end development for future releases - let the drupal/joomla theme dictate the look and feel of the site, but have CiviCRM dictate the layout/behaviour so that the UI makes sense out of the box
  • Showed people where and how to override CiviCRM templates/php files and we had a brief discussion of how those changes affect the upgrade path
  • Had a brief discussion of the customizations we've made to the PCP signup/creation process and how it might be modified to tie into event registration so that a user could sign up, create a PCP page, and then be kicked to an even registration without getting lost
  • also discussed modifications we made to the user profile to show a user's PCP-related links

From Sacha’s group:

  • Payment processing:
  • Using paypal standard - payments always hung in pending state. Server is internet visible and IPN ping back should be happening, but logs indicate a "key not found" message. However, multiple people were hitting the site from different locations, debugging wasn't turned on correctly, and the user had problems with his paypal setup/credit cards etc. So we mostly went through standard steps to clear caches, set up clean users, enable debugging properly etc.

  • Custom profile for newsletter/group signup:
  • One participant had upgraded from 2.0 and while signups worked (asking for email and check choice of 3
    newsletters), doing another signup with same email but an additional list selection caused the contact to be updated correctly as per merge rules (strict email match only), but a second contact was created with no information and no groups attached to user. We tried on the 3.0 civi demo site and it correctly merged the contacts.

    Notes: on the confirmation page, it never listed the groups no matter whether it was first or second attempt with the same email.

    On the 3.0 civi demo site, it would confirm pending membership, and list the group in the list, however when signing up for an additional group the second time, it would confirm but only list the first.

    I suggested setting up a new site/database with same codebase from fresh, and testing profile signup - if that works the issue is configuration/upgrade related, if it doesn't there is a bug and a clean install of 3.0.2 should be done to confirm same bug.

In Alice’s group:

  • We looked around Civi and looked at a contact record and the associated information that can be tracked about the individual, e.g. Activities, Relationships
  • We discussed the various components: CiviEvent, Civi Contribute and had folks create an event and add people to that event, then look at an individual’s record to see what actually gets recorded.
  • We did a whirlwind tour of a few administration tasks by doing a few configurations, like adding custom fields and shared tips for set-up.
  • We did rounds of Q&A and shared responses about “how-to’s”, e.g. setting up an online member sign up or online event registration.

Overall , this was quite a lively session for all of us. I’m hoping to rope in more folks to help with facilitating groups and share some fresh ideas and tips with us all.

Keep an eye out for the next session in January! We’ll be doing a combo format, where we’ll spend the first half hour with someone presenting a case study, then the rest of the time we’ll have hands-on breakout sessions.
Thanks to everyone who facilitated and most importantly to all who participated and brought their questions, ideas, and smiling faces!

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Alice, Kyle, Sacha and the rest of the NY civi-folks - thanks for taking the lead in designing and implementing awesome meetups - and for sharing the outcomes in great detail. This really helps the rest of us who are planning and running meetups!

I didn't realize that there was a meet-up in NYC until the day it happened. When is the next one? I could round-up 15 to 20 people to attend a hastily organized meet-up in January 2010.

Inspirational for the rest of us around the world to organise similar meetups!