01 July, 2013
By davem

Returning to CiviCRM videos after some time on other projects, the team at Circle Interactive are now starting to think again about developing a CiviCRM community video project based on the ideas in Young Jin’s blog of Feb 2012.

We specifically see the need for the short instructional videos aimed at the new user (identified as Type C), ideally, less than three minutes long covering common aspects of configuring and using CiviCRM in bite-size pieces. We think this would provide not only a useful set of how-tos but also if they’re done in the right way it will contribute to general marketing - providing more reassurance to decision makers that the support network and documentation is actually just as good if not better than commercial products. We also want everyone contributing this type of video to work on a standard demo site for consistency. We think this should use...

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23 June, 2013

For some time i've been trying to make my organisations contact list accessible outside of CiviCRM. Why you may ask?

Well, mainly convenience, but also for reducing duplication, maintaining a personal address book, an organisational address book and a CRM will mean inconsistent information, duplicates, contacts in one place and not the other etc. On the convenience side of things, it means potentially having access to your CiviCRM contacts in your email program, phone and many other places LDAP can be utilised.

Initially I tried the google apps sync extension but that had a couple of pitfalls, firstly you need google apps (which you may not have), if you do have an account, you will need a paid account (again not necessarily a blocker), but the main problem I hit was that the extension can only write (a Google limitation) to your accounts directory, which...

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20 June, 2013

This book that I wrote, with a foreword by Dave Greenberg, is now available from Packt Publishing or Amazon.

The book is really aimed at people who, well, are a bit like me. I started like everyone else does by reading the manuals and the book, using the forums and doing a lot of head scratching and learning by my mistakes. I'm not really a developer - in fact I'm more of a planner, implementer and trainer.  It would have been great to have something that would set me on the right path, give me good ideas and save the time and energy it takes to make CiviCRM transformative for an organization.

So this book takes some of...

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11 April, 2013
Filed under CiviCRM, Documentation, Drupal

The attached chart came out of a discussion between Kasia Wakarecy, Lola Slade and myself (Lynna Landstreet), at Freeform Solutions, about some issues we'd encountered when trying to to do major version upgrades of CiviCRM and Drupal on a client's site at the same time. Since we're likely to have a number of other combined upgrades like that to do in the future, we wanted to iron out the best process for doing them as smoothly as possible.

And we thought it might be useful to share what we’ve got thus far with others in the CiviCRM community, partly because it might help other people, and partly to find out others’ experiences: do you agree with what we’ve outlined here? Disagree? Have anything you’d want to add/change? We’re thinking of contributing this to the wiki documentation, but wanted to post it here for discussion first.

The pink boxes on the chart represent the actual steps involved, with the green ones being the state of the site(s) you’re working on...

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03 December, 2012
Filed under Documentation

Do you modify template files for your site?  If so, you ought to know the tedious process of updating all the overridden template files every time you upgrade.  (If you don't know that pain, either you've never upgraded or you should quit reading and go check your customized files.)

The method of using .extra.tpl files is helpful for tacking some jQuery on the end, but if you're altering parts of the page or adding to the middle, you've got to copy the whole template file and modify it.

At AGH Strategies, a number of clients have lots of customized templates, and when we run upgrades for them, we need a reliable and efficient way to separate the customizations from the rest of the file that's just copied from CiviCRM.  We'll then apply the changes to new...

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20 November, 2012

Just created a quick ERD for CiviCase, and shared it on this page http://wiki.civicrm.org/confluence/display/CRMDOC42/CiviCRM+ERD+3.3.

It is version 3.3, so not the latest and greatest. But I am sure I will have to check the same ERD for version 4 at a near point in the future and update the ERD too. And I do not think there are major differences in the data model......

I have also attached the ERD to this blog post.

28 September, 2012
Filed under Documentation


We've tackled a fair amount of work at the recent Apeldoorn and Butcombe documentation sprints.  As well as documenting pretty much all of the new features for 4.2 (including SMS) - special thanks to Simon West for doing so much of that - we've made some significant improvements to our infrastructure, reviewed a few sections in the book, and added a number of areas of work to the documentation road map.  It feels like we are getting into a good rhythm these days with a book sprint every 6 months enabling us to keep fairly up to date with the release cycle. Never the less, the list of things to do keeps on expanding, and there is certainly lots more that we (and the we includes you!) need to do do to improve our documentation.

Every book sprint is unique and different to the last...

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04 April, 2012
Filed under Documentation

We're at the book and documentation sprint out at the very lovely Woolman Centre near Nevada city in California. A sub group of us have taken on the mighty task of analysing how the wiki content sits with the book content. We're focusing on the User and Administrator guide at the moment, which is online at http://book.civicrm.org/user/.


What we're doing, is each taking a section of the book at a time, then going through the wiki - http://wiki.civicrm.org/confluence/display/CRMDOC and finding all related content.


We're then labelling the wiki pages in 2 ways:

1. According to which section of the book the page corresponds to e.g. 'basic-set-up' or 'events'.


2. An indication of the relationship between the wiki page and the book. One of the following 4 labels: 


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02 March, 2012
Filed under Documentation

We're wrapping up the London code sprint today. We've done a decent amount of book review, which will stand us in good stead when we get to Woolman and we've also made some minor improvements to the books at book.civicrm.org.

Books now have a 'breadcrumb' which show you what section you are reading and they also have proper titles, which should make them more visible when people are googling for help.

It would be great to hear other ideas for improving the publication process.

My number one improvement would be some form of funky jquery commenting system would be great if you want to suggest one.  I'd also like to get rid of the enforced caps in sections and chapters in the menu (which is also reflected in the page title).

Feel free to download and play around with the publishing script (it is pretty easy to get to grips...

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28 February, 2012
Filed under Documentation

We're doing a fair amount of work on the book review at the London sprint. It would be cool to have others involved (remotely or in person).  If you want to help out then

  • come along to CAN Mezzanine (let us know if you are coming) or
  • jump on IRC and say hello (during London friendly hours) or
  • subscribe to the book list and send us an email.

The best places to start and orient yourself are:

You might also want to read through...

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