Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 22:02
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Now that CiviCon 2015 is over, it is a good time to reflect on the people we met and the great new things we learned. I attended the CiviCon conference as well as two full days of training prior to the event. Joining me in Denver were designer Kurt Thomas and front-end developer (and former organizer) Phillip Kent Knight from the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a Black Brick Software client organization.

Developer Training

Developer training was awesome. My experience with CiviCRM development up until now had been entirely self-taught, so I was excited to start with some of the basics - learning from the guys at Ginko Street Labs (they really know their Civi!)

We began by setting up CiviCRM Buildkit - this tool can spin up, snapshot, and restore instances of CiviCRM. Currently this kit only supports Drupal or WordPress. (As a proud member of the Joomla! developer community, I’m hoping to encourage more Joomla! devs to join the Civi community and maybe build support for expanding CiviCRM buildkit to handle Joomla! installations.)

After everyone has CiviCRM Buildkit set up, we worked through creating a basic extension. Using Civix, which can generate skeletal extensions, we each created our own CiviCRM extension. From there, we went over the basics of interacting with CiviCRM hooks, as well as creating and saving an administration page.

The second day the instructors took a more Laissez-faire approach to the class. The instructors went over a number of suggestions from the group including Drupal views and custom/customizing reports.

In the last couple hours of the second day, we worked in groups on CiviCRM pet projects. It seemed quite a few people (including Link Swanson at Must Buildand Kevin Cristiano at Tadpole Collective) were looking to set default dashlets for new users in CiviCRM. Together we started working on an extension to allow just thisCiviCRM Default Dashlets. Currently the extension is functional, and a great beginning – but it does need a little more work as of yet.

CiviCon 2015

The conference was quite a bit bigger than the training sessions and there were lots of new people to meet in addition to our friends from training, most of them having stayed to attend CiviCon as well.

There were a lot of good sessions and presentations to pick from, but my favorite was a talk by Dr. Joseph Murray of JMA Consulting out of Toronto. This session was focused on multi-channel development. JMA has recently developed an integration with, a subscription service that discovers and tracks individuals across multiple social network with the ability to push and pull data – including a nifty new “Social Networks” tab in your CiviCRM contacts. Additionally, JMA has also begun developing robo-calling(voice message broadcasting) integration wtih CiviCRM through the VoIP provider Pilvo. Eventually, they plan to create a complete multi-channel development solution.

(cross post from with Phillip Knight)

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