01 June, 2015
Filed under Documentation

For a while we have been thinking about some new infrastructure for CiviCRM's user and administrator documentation.  We'd like to move the guide somewhere that has better support for more of the features that we want, which include

  • simple user interface that makes it easy for people to contribute
  • produces clean source code
  • produces a 'good looking' html version of the book
  • ability to export to different format (including ebook and pdf and output suitable for traditional publishing)
  • version control so that people can work on different 'branches' of the documentation at the same time (that we can merge independently when ready for publication)
  • translation infrastructure, so that our language communities can easily create different language versions of the manual, and can easily keep these up to date when the manual is updated
  • can handle growing documentation needs (including end user documentation...
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27 May, 2015
Filed under Documentation

Q: Want to help the new CiviCRM StackExchange site succeed, but don't have spare time/brainpower for answering difficult questions?

A: That's okay! It turns out that the one thing this fledgling site needs the most is also the easiest thing you can do. Voting!

Why Voting Helps our Site

If you visit our beta health stats you'll see that our site has an excellent number of daily questions and a pretty good number of answers. But we're falling short on:

> Number of users with 200+ rep
> Number of users with 2000+ rep

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25 May, 2015
Filed under Community, Documentation

https://civicrm.stackexchange.com/ is launched in beta and thriving as a place to ask and answer questions about CiviCRM. The benefit of the Q&A format is that good questions and good answers can get voted up, and better serve as an expert repository of our community's experience. Search rankings will soon be able to find good relevant answers to everyone's beginner and expert support and development questions.

Already we're averaging 10.9 questions per day, which is more than the 9.9 new topics started per day in http://forum.civicrm.org during the first quarter of 2015. 267 people have asked questions with a score of 1 or more, and 123 people have posted an answer that earned a +1 score or above. More than 90 percent of questions are answered, which is a healthy beta. There are over 550 users after two months, and 40 have asked or answered enough questions to get...

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25 February, 2015
Filed under API, Documentation, Tips

Whether you're just getting started with customizing CiviCRM or you already think you know everything about it, I invite you to spend a few minutes playing with the new API Explorer in 4.6. You'll be glad you did.

New look

Building on Xavier's great previous work (thanks X for writing the original explorer) I rewrote the interface in 4.5 to reflect new api techniques and take advantage of new user-friendly UI widgets like select2. In 4.6 I've added even more goodies, so be sure to upgrade when it is released - some of the features listed below (marked with a *) are only in 4.6.

Interactive option lists

No need to type in secret codes, you can...

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02 December, 2014
Filed under Documentation

Having gone on long car journeys with young children before the ACPED (Age of Cheap Personal Electronic Devices), I am very familiar with “Are we there yet?”  Now I usually only hear it in my head as I try to make light of the longer than 12-hour flights I have to endure as an Australian who likes to attend CiviCon. Lately, however, it is there whenever I visit the CiviCRM Area 51 site on Stack Exchange. I want to be at the “beta” phase when we will actually be able to ask and answer questions.

We have a positive start with 253 people committed to using the new site. However we need 100 committers with a reputation of 200 or more on another SE site before we can transition to “beta”. We have only 61.

Michael McAndrew thinks we will get the extra 39 experienced committers we need, but “it will take a while”. Ever the pessimist, I am not sure it will happen unless more of our existing...

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03 November, 2014
Filed under Documentation

As you may have heard, CiviCRM is about to launch an exciting new help site on Stack Exchange, which will make getting support with CiviCRM easier and more effective.

The new site is about to launch, but the initial "beta" phase will only be available to a limited group of people. This pilot group will have unprecidented access to world's top CiviCRM experts, and it's not too late for you to join them.

Sign up now to be part of the pilot group and gain exclusive access to the best free CiviCRM help on the planet.

Are there any strings attached? Am I going to have to take a survey or something?
Nope, no strings, we just want people to ask questions in the new help site to get the ball rolling before it's open to the general public.

What if my questions aren't good enough?
There are no dumb questions, ask...

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20 October, 2014
By mpeth

As you may know from a recent blog post by artfulrobot, CiviCRM is applying for a dedicated platform on Stack Exchange. I don't know about you, but I would love to see this happen. (If you wonder what this is all about, please refer to the beforementioned blog post which explains it very well.)

This initiative needs backing from Stack Exchange veterans now! Here is why:

In the current phase of the proposal, Stack Exchange wants to see how many and what kind of people would actually be contributing to the platform. People are asked to commit to using it. Three values are being measured, out of which the minimum counts. In our case, this is "committers with 200+ reputation on any other [SE] site" with only 8 out of the required 100 committers so far. So while we...

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03 October, 2014
The course resources for trainers on the Wiki have now been updated for CiviCRM 4.5.
This has been done as part of the Edale sprint taking place in the UK.
The courses can be found on the CiviCRM Wiki - wiki.civicrm.org/confluence/display/CRM/Training
The course is based on a modular format with 14 individual sessions and each session contains both trainer notes and exercises for the learners.
The modular nature of the course means this can be run in multiple formats, like a '2 day course' or a '1 day course focusing on fundraising'.
Instructions for the trainer have been provided along with training tips, suggested course timetables and printable trainer/learner notes.
The full course is slide free - the idea is that the trainer delivers the whole course on a live CiviCRM site. The...
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30 September, 2014
By maya

After the excitement of CiviCon with new features and extensions being discussed, the Civi Sprinters are hard at work improving and finalising these for release, as well as discussing future plans. 

However not all of us can bask in the glory of cool features and improvements. The documentation team have been hard at work attempting to improve the Civi Book.

The 4.5 version of the book has recently been released, updated with new 4.5 features and interface changes. In addition to this the membership section was restructured into a (hopefully) more meaningful and usable structure. At this years sprint we are working on the events section in an attempt to restructure it in a similar way. The aims are to ensure the documentation is up to date, get it into a more logical structure for end users and removing duplication of content. Watch this space for a new book release!  

After restructuring documentation all day, it was time to restructure and refresh our heads...

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25 August, 2014
By totten

Good testing is critical for providing quality software. Some testing is always manual but writing automated tests to do the heavy lifting is a key part of modern coding practices. For developers, the discipline of writing automated tests helps to proactively identify and control edge-cases, and regularly running tests helps to identify problems quickly (before they grow and cause greater harm). Fostering a healthy culture of testing requires easy, consistent, timely test-results which in turn requires an easy, consistent, quick way to setup a new test environment. Easy, consistent setup of a test environment helps both (a) with individual developers who write and run tests on their personal sandboxes and (b) with teams which run tests in a continuous-integration environment.

This need is shared equally by the core team and many other active development teams in the CiviCRM community: many teams need to install and run tests with CiviCRM, a CMS, and a set of modules or...

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