28 April, 2010
By xavier
Filed under Documentation
It is midnight, we are busy finishing proof-reading the last chapters, after having been spoiled one more time with a scrumptious dinner cooked by an amazing Jill. After 4 days, time to put some numbers on this sprint:
  • 5 squirrels,
  • 8 chipmunks,
  • dozen of blue jays
  • 2 coyotes, and
  • 1 bernese mountain dog,
tough job to guard a herd of writers and
  • 11 000 words, spread around a lot of new chapters both aiming the users of CiviCRM and the developers.
Beside all the new content, pretty much all the existing chapters have been updated, improved or rewritten. All in all, that's been an amazing experience and a great opportunity to spend time with a... Read more
27 April, 2010
Filed under CiviCRM, Documentation

Everyone is continuing to produce an incredible amount of content for the book, plus rework and update areas that were showing some age. The new set of chapters for developers and people who want to extend CiviCRM is really fantastic. Everyone who has been wanting to extend CiviCRM, but didn't know where to start should be able to dive in. Everyone is increasing their knowledge of CiviCRM, getting ideas for new features and improving existing features. I overheard someone comment that they have learned more about CiviCRM working on this book than they did at the DrupalCon CiviCRM sessions.

We all went for a much-needed walk around the lake in the afternoon. The dinner prepared by Jill was once again a treat. Jill explained how she made everything, but I don't think I stand a chance of being able to prepare any of the dishes.

Hats off to Tim Homewood who was at CiviCon last week and today was on the irc channel at:...

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26 April, 2010
Filed under Documentation

It's 5 to midnight and we're just wrapping up. Mr Kurund says that I can't go to bed until I've written this post, so...

Participating in the second book sprint is just as fascinating as it was the first time around, but the dynamic is definitely different. Having a book in place already makes a big difference - there's no panicking that we'll end up with the sections half finished, and it is easier to cover components when a lot of the design decisions have already been made. Having already written sections on the components is especially helpful when covering new components.

Today we reached some pretty huge milestones - we have full draft coverage of CiviCRM's two newest components: CiviCase and CiviReport, and also of the new Drupal module for CiviCRM: CiviEngage.

And if that weren't enough, we've also have a comprehensive draft of a new section 'Developing with CiviCRM' that covers best practice for extending Civi. Developer documenation is often...

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24 April, 2010
Filed under Documentation
It's 11pm in beautiful Truckee, CA, and the CiviCRM Book Sprint crew of twelve dedicated souls is still hard at work after a 10am start. We've come from across the US and around the globe to help update and improve the existing book, making it more useful for CiviCRM users, developers, implementers, and administrators. We're being guided through the process by Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals, a collection of manuals about free and open source software and the very cool tools that let communities collaborate to create the manuals. Adam has helped us learn the tools and, more importantly, learn the philosophies and processes that drive FLOSS Manuals book sprints. It's been impressive to see an efficient and skillfully structured process come together with true collaboration, open communication, and respect for individual working styles, energy levels, and personal interests and investments. Today's... Read more
23 March, 2010
Filed under Documentation

Exactly one month from now, a team of CiviCRM developers, implementors and users will sprint to update 'Understanding CiviCRM: A Guide for Non-profits'. We've heard from lots of folks that to have this free online book as a learning resource is really important. And we're pretty excited about this sprint, especially given the amount we achieved last time.

There is lots to update and improve and we'd like your input to make the new version of the book as useful as possible to you. There are a few ways in which you can help now.

  • Feedback to us on the current book. What did you like and what wasn't so good. What bits were missing, and what was unnecessary or confusing? Please add your comments on the book sprint wiki page.
  • Volunteer to help remotely during the sprint. If you can't join us for the sprint, there are still ways...
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15 May, 2009
Filed under Documentation

Lunch time of day two stands out as a high point of the book sprint. We'd spent the first day working relatively independently - brain-dumping the chapters about areas of CiviCRM that we knew the best and by Tuesday, it was clear the chapters making up our introductory section needed a re-think.

Trying to get co-herence on five chapters written by five people sounded pretty daunting at the time, and I wasn't sure how we were going to get there. But after 15 minutes or so of intense talking over what we'd written, our experiences, and what we were trying to acheive, the answer came down from the ether. We realised we could split the section nicely down the lines of 'before you chose CiviCRM' and 'after you choose CiviCRM'. Armed with this, restructuring was a relative breeze.

These 'meetings' happened again and again during the sprint, and although the the outcomes might sound obvious in retrospect, I'm sure they wouldn't have been as easily come by (if they were...

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14 May, 2009
By lcdweb
Filed under Documentation

Last week I had the privilege of joining 10 other CiviCRM enthusiasts, along with a facilitator (Adam Hyde from FLOSS Manuals) for the CiviCRM Book Sprint. It was a fantastic experience on many different levels. More than anything else, it was great to meet in person and interact face-to-face with members of the core team and active members in the community—many of whom I’ve had forum-based contact with for several years.

In between (and often during) the writing, I had great opportunity to talk through how people have used and implemented CiviCRM, enriching my own understanding of the software and the possible capabilities it provides.

Both those discussions and the writing process itself made me appreciate even more how robust and flexible CiviCRM can be in meeting the diverse needs of non-profit organizations. As each chapter went through revisions, each reviewer brought their experience of how the software...

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11 May, 2009
Filed under Documentation
The Book Sprint is over - and we met our goal: Zero to Book in 5 days. Reflecting on the process, I am incredibly moved by the dedication and commitment which everyone on the sprint team brought to the process. People came together with a rich mix of experience and perspectives - and an amazing spirit of collaboration. It was a personal honor for me to be a member of this incredible team! You can read the book online (in your browser) at: >> http://en.flossmanuals.net/civicrm and you can download a PDF version of the complete book by clicking the Make PDF icon in the upper left corner of that screen. I am quite hopeful that this book will be a great resource both for current members of the CiviCRM community and for people who are evaluating whether CiviCRM might be a useful tool for their organizations. Please post your feedback and suggestions on the ... Read more
07 May, 2009
By michal
Filed under CiviCRM, Documentation
Third day behind, pages count is 148 and raising. Actually, if we consider final format (size of pages) of the book, it would have 215 pages right now, but I'm using the count from temporarily generated PDF for sake of consistency with previous page count announcements from blog posts on day 1 and 2. Anyway, we started traditionally at 9 and banged our keyboards until lunch. Since weather continues to improve, today's choice for lunch place was Donner Camp, with beautiful view over Donner Lake. Sitting in front of computer screens for almost 3 days makes bodies accumulate a lot of readiness to move around, so some of us quickly came up with new extreme sport, swamp frisbee. Very similar to regular flying disc entertainment, it just requires two modifications: needs to be happening on swamp and requires improvised frisbee equipment (since we didn't have regular one). Fun times passed very quickly and we came back for some more writing.... Read more
06 May, 2009
By michal
Filed under CiviCRM, Documentation

Second day of the sprint behind - manual pages count is now 117. We started at 9am as day before and continued writing until lunch. When we were sleeping, our off-site editor Andy came through a few chapters and introduced quite a lot of propositions, remarks and edits - so it was not only writing new text, but also integrating fixes to whatever was written so far. Second day was also the first one when off-site authors started contributing their chunks of text to the book.

Last few days were quite rainy and cloudy in Tahoe, but on second sprint day the sun showed up just in time for having lunch outside. After short break we came together again and started our first review of the manual as a whole - everyone reported back on work so far, some good discussions happened on what should still be included in existing chapters, how chapters flow together and so on. After that we split into two groups that had separate conversations on how to combine some existing parts of the...

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