Published
Monday, April 22, 2019 - 12:26
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Long, long ago, before we had indoor plumbing, penicillin or `civix generate:module`, a humble drupal module was born.

It tried its best to be helpful by employing an (at the time) cutting edge technique known as CRM_Utils_Migrate_Import to dump a motley collection of custom fields, profiles and options into your CiviCRM database.

Along with other cutting edge techniques (such as lobotomies), the process of automatically adding custom fields, profiles and options has been improved and now can be done with managed entities and our lovely api.

The Progressive Technology Project helped bring about civicrm_engage, and has now prepared a series of much more sane alternatives that provide the same functionality, but are implemented using CiviCRM-native extensions that employ the CiviCRM API.

The replacement extensions are described below.

In addition civicrm_engage provided a few demographic fields and then did some magical foo on the display of the custom demographics fields so that they would appear on the summary page in the same box as the core demographics fields. This is pretty, but alas, we decided it was not worth the extra work of maintaining said magical foo so we have not tried to re-implement that feature.

So, with this blog post, we are starting the process of deprecating civicrm_engage.

NOTE: If you are currently using civicrm_engage, you can simply disable and uninstall the module and your custom fields, profiles and options will remain. Your custom demographic fields will suddenly appear as a Tab instead of being available in your core demographics box, but otherwise, everything will work the same. Disabling and uninstalling civicrm_engage is the recommended course of action for existing installations.

For new installations, please see the replacement extensions below.

Feedback and questions are welcome from anyone (but especially people that actually have civicrm_engage enabled, if any of you exist).

Replacement extensions:

  • Contstituent Fields: Provides a custom data group for both individuals and organizations that includes a contstituent type multi-select for both individuals and organizations. It also includes a handful of useful custom fields for organizing purposes, such as "Staff resopnsible", "Date started",  "Languages known" and others.
  • Participant Fields: Provides common fields for organizing events that extend the participant records, such as "Dietary Preferences" and "Child care needed."
  • Media Fields: Provides both a media outlet and media contact sub types (extending Organization and Individual) along with fields for tracking such sub types.
  • Voter Fields: Provides a set of fields for tracking voter engagement, including "Party Registration," "VAN Id" and others.
  • Foundation Fields: Creates a Foundation Organization sub type along with useful fields for tracking Foundations. In addition, provides a "letter of inquiry," "proposal," and "report" activity types and custom activity fields to help you track proposals.
  • Turnout:   Provides extra fields that extend the participant records that are    used for tracking turnout efforts. These fields (and a profile)    provide a turnout workflow allowing organizers to make up to three    calls to propsective event participants and track what their    responses to the calls are.

 

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Comments

I'd also add the Contact Layout Editor as a sustainable alternative to the old magical foo - it will let you customize the demographics block (and the rest of the contact summary) to your heart's content without maintaining any custom code.