22 July, 2012
By totten

Brian Shaughnessy (lcdweb), who has been working with the New York State Senate's CiviCRM project, recently raised the issue of simultaneous editing: What happens when two users simultaneously make changes to same contact record?  We've held a few discussions on IRC to examine the issue and draft some solutions.  We would appreciate further feedback and ideas on how to address the issue.

The Problem

As described by Brian:

The issue is that if you and I get into the same record around the same time, and you save the record first, when I save, it will overwrite your changes.  So let’s say you add a middle name, and I get in and add a birthdate.  The data is not in conflict, and both changes should be preserved, but they aren’t -- when you save the birthdate (where the edit form was loaded before I saved the middle name), the empty middle name overwrites the value I had saved. 


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11 April, 2012

We are currently working with an organisation that has a staff member that accesses their machine using a screen reader only (he uses Jaws). He has been working hard to see which core bits of CiviCRM (4.1.x on Drupal 7) he can access and has fantastically been working with us to feedback. In some instances we have been able to hardcode in menu links etc to increase his level of access.

This is real feedback from a user with genuine access requirements. Hopefully his experiences can lead to core code changes which will increase the accessibility of the system in the longer term for other users. We are also looking for ways in which we can increase his access levels in the short term. Please comment if you have any thoughts on core code changes that would make a difference, if you would like to get involved or if you know of users that have had similar experiences.


Generally he can navigate round a contacts summary screen, edit users, search via the basic Find...

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12 March, 2012

A member sends several separate payments to cover outstanding dues on a single purchase, like an expensive membership or a table at an event. How are you going to record this?

A conference participant selects “Pay Later” on several different event registrations, and later wants to pay them all in a single credit card transaction.  How are you going to support this?

Current versions of CiviCRM don't offer a way to record multiple payments against a single obligation, or to split one payment among multiple obligations, but the CiviAccounts project is working to allow this flexibility.  Work on data structure improvements has been going on for some time; it's part of a broad effort to help CiviCRM's financial data to be more compatible with QuickBooks and other accounting software packages, and it lays the groundwork for lots of possibilities, including more flexible payment processing.

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03 March, 2012
By xavier


The code sprint in London has finished yesterday. It's always a pleasure to see old civi friends and meet new ones. Thanks to Michael and Katy to have organized it. Time for a quick update of what I've been working on with the most obscure title I could find. My focus has been on usuability to make civicrm easier and faster to use.


To make our crm more user friendly, we need to make the pages more "application like", where you can add, edit remove and reorder from the same page without having to switch and go to more pages with forms to fill and save. And load. And wait. And save, and load and wait more...


For instance  -and that will be a make it happen that we launch next week to improve- creating a survey today means you have to go to visit a different page to create the survey, the profile, for each field you add in the profile, for each custom field you need to...

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22 February, 2012

Batch entry of gifts (checks, cash, etc.) is a much requested "missing feature" in CiviCRM. Thanks to a generous sponsorship commitment from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we are about to launch a Make-it-Happen campaign to implement this feature for the next release (4.2). We've spent some time discussing requirements with folks at EFF and several other organizations, and we've reviewed analogous functionality offered by several of the proprietary donor management products. The purpose of this post is to share the draft specifications for the feature and solicit feedback from others in the community.


The goal is to provide a streamlined interface for data entry of batches of contributions and membership payments. A simple batching concept will be introduced to provide verification of count and totals. The feature will use a grid-style input form with the columns controlled by a selected profile. This...

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05 September, 2011

Over the past few years the administration menu has grown quite a bit. Although I use it quite often, I find that I'm sometimes unsure where to look for a particular configuration option. We've heard the same comments  from both experienced and new users - so Xavier Dutoit and I thought it would be a good idea to take a stab at re-working the menu structure. The goals of the re-organization are:

  • reduce confusion - especially understanding the differences between Customize, Configure and Manage
  • reduce the # of clicks to get to any admin option
  • clarify language a bit

During the recent code sprint in the UK, we had a chance to do a "card sort" on the admin menu with Jamie McClelland from Progressive Technology Project. We came up with a proposed re-organization, and then tested it with the book sprint team by presenting the top level categories and  asking each person to note down the category where they would expect a...

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29 August, 2011
By totten

Several CiviCRM users have expressed an interest in managing CiviCRM activities with a smooth, interactive calendar screen.  Since calendaring can be a complex topic, we've put together a basic, working calendar to facilitate discussion.  The prototype resembles the calendar included in other relationship-management tools:

Calendar screenshot

The calendar is implemented in three pieces: (1) the excellent jquery-week-calendar plugin provides a rich Javascript interface for dragging and dropping calendar items, (2) arms_recur provides an API for creating recurring activities, and (3) example_calendar integrates these pieces into the CiviCRM interface.

If you think that a rich calendar interface would improve CiviCRM, then please give the prototype a...

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24 June, 2011

For all you "customizers" out there - I wanted to highlight a cool new feature that is available as of the 3.4.3 / 4.0.3 release. You can now append jQuery functions, Smarty code, HTML (really anything) to any template without having to create a customized copy of the entire file. Wow - you say, "how the h?!# do I do that?"

All you need to do is put your "extra stuff" in a new file and save it as template_to_append_to.extra.tpl.

EXAMPLE: You want to add some jQuery to hide a few of the fields in the Contact Edit form - Contact.tpl.
1. Configure your Custom Templates directory
2. Create the directory structure in your custom templates directory (CRM/Contact/Form)
3. Write your jQuery script and save it in a file called Contact.extra.tpl

Voila - your jQuery script will be appended to the standard Contact.tpl template!

One heads up … if your file contains Javascript (as it probably will), you will need to start your "...

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25 January, 2011

The staff at Denver DataMan have identified CiviCRM as the CRM that we believe is best suited for making a truly robust CRM that will be accessible for the blind. We have received funding from the Colorado Center for the Blind to allow us to support the development of this innovative project.

The solutions that we are proposing to implement will also help make the overall structure of CiviCRM more adaptable and in doing so paves the way for the development of mobile sites and other applications requiring functional changes based on user selections or device limitations with CiviCRM. 

You can read the post I made recently on the boards to see the methodology we used to identify the issues that need to be addressed to achieve the goal of making CiviCRM accessible to the blind. 

There are a few overarching areas that challenge the accessibility of CiviCRM. These are outlined here along...

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15 December, 2010
Filed under v3.3, Interface and design

I figured you'd be as worked up about this as I have been - but rest easy friend-o, 'cause we've got some good medicine coming your way.


I've been struggling with the lack of right-click support for the context menus as of 3.2. There's been a fair amount of complaint about it (from what I gather) and the context menu solution that was in place was sub-optimal for a variety of reasons, the greatest being that it didn't allow the user to right-click an action to open it in a new window (a very common behavior if you use CIviCRM on a regular basis). So I did some research and came up with a solution that I think is a significant improvement over the current solution, but it *is* fairly different, and I wanted to address the differences ahead of time so that we can make changes (if necessary) before the release. I shall portray it to you in three acts:


First, the improvement:


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