Monday, November 3, 2008 - 14:23
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CiviCase is a new component for CiviCRM targeted at organizations who provide case management services. It is being developed In partnership with the Physician Health Program of British Columbia (PHP-BC). In addition to providing funding for this project, PHP-BC is providing invaluable domain expertise and the current plan is for their staff to start using CiviCase in January 2009. You can learn more about how this project got started and the project goals from these blog posts and the requirements overview. CiviCase Phase 1 is a major part of the upcoming 2.2 release - and several members of the core team are gathered in San Francisco this month working on bringing it to life. Last week we had a two day "in-person" meetup with PHP-BC folks (Andrew Clarke, Claire Sauve, and Dave D) where we reviewed work in progress and got detailed feedback on the basic workflows and screens, as well as the data model and configurability of the component. That meeting resulted in some key refinements and additions to the phase 1 specification - and provided a good reality-check for the project! A key goal for CiviCase is to maximize configurability. Case management looks very different in different settings - and we want to create a tool that works well for PHP-BC, AND can be configured for organizations that work in a completely different context. We're implementing several mechanisms to help with this:
  • XML-based configuration files allowing a site to define activities, timelines and reporting requirements by type case.
  • XML-based report definition files
  • Importing and exporting custom field definitions via XML - to make it easier for sites to define the large number of custom fields needed for recording their specific type of activity / case data.
We're also using CiviCase as a testing ground for the jQuery JavaScript/Ajax library - and so far we're quite happy with the results. The "Manage Case" screen includes a cool new jQuery grid for listing activities in the case. The grid allows you to quickly filter and resort the listing - as well as add or remove columns. You can read the current specifications for phase 1 on the wiki. AND, in the next few days we'll update our public sandbox site with the latest CiviCase code and sample configuration and case data - so you can actually try stuff out. Of course, this is pre-alpha state - so expect some things to be broken / incomplete. However, it should give you a good feel for where things are headed. Largely due to the active and committed collaboration with our partners at PHP-BC, I'm personally finding this project to be super fun and satisfying. It's really great for us to have a partner like PHP-BC who brings deep expertise in a domain, real-life problems to solve AND a commitment to make the solutions as useful as possible to a broad range of organizations.
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Claire and I got together for dinner last night here in Vancouver, and we were waxing nostalgic (after less than two weeks) about how great it was to hang out with you all for those two days of intensive work. We're both really enjoying the work, and counting ourselves lucky to be working with such a bunch of smart, skilled people, who are such a pleasure to be around.