24 May, 2015

When preparing an email newsletter, one part of it that is time consuming is gathering together all the content that is needed. In my experience, virtually all the content already exists elsewhere, such as in the local CMS, in CiviCRM, or on a blog, or some other online source.    So I was thinking how can I make this process easier.  What I did: I created mail merge tokens for CiviCRM that autofill a list of recent blog posts, stories, or any other type or category of CMS content.  So the end-user sees a list of tokens, one for each content type, each term/category, each aggregator feed,  and for each date range. Such as "Content of type 'blog' created in the last 7 days" .  What is particulary powerful about this approach, is that if you are also using a CMS aggregator (such as the aggregator module in Drupal core) then virually any external RSS feed is turned into CMS content, which is now available as a CiviCRM token. (The original blog post about this extension is at:...

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17 February, 2015
Filed under WordPress

Would a Civi integration with WordPress Multisite be useful to you? We're trying to find partners to help us fund a full integration.

WordPress Multisite allows you to have independent sites under the same installation. This greatly simplifies administration and backups, to say the least, and it'd be great for Civi to support such setups. At the BHA our needs are relatively simple - we want different sites within multisite to have access to the same Civi database.

But there's plenty more to Civi's potential multisite support than that - you can have separate databases with a shared user table, site-specific membership types, site-specific payment processors...and plenty more (see the wiki page for full details). This all seems doable. It's a matter of getting Civi and...

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28 January, 2015

I’ve been spending a lot of time the past few weeks working with alpha versions of our upcoming 4.6 release, and I’m excited to share some of the cool new features and improvements. This release includes contributions of vision and code from a wide variety of end-users and implementers. The fact that our entire community reaps the benefits reminds me once again of the awesome power of open source collaboration.

I know how easy it is to miss some new feature in a release that you or your client could really benefit from - so I’ll try to dig down a bit and cover some of the smaller improvements. But first, a shout out to the continuing momentum in improvements to the overall user experience through the addition of short-cuts, more inline editing capabilities, more usable widgets, increased consistency,  and overall responsiveness. As both an end-user and an active tester, I’m really enjoying these improvements and I hope you are too. Kudos to Coleman Watts for leading the...

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19 January, 2015
Filed under v4.6, WordPress

The release of CiviCRM 4.6 marks a watershed moment for integration with WordPress. Read on for a guide to what's new and what you can do with these cool new features.

CiviCRM 4.6 opens a world of new possibilities for developers and administrators of WordPress-based systems. CiviCRM administrators will be happy to hear that they can now reliably use shortcodes in both static pages and chronological posts. CiviCRM content inserted via a shortcode can even appear in blog archives now. For developers, the big news is that for the first time, multiple plugins can receive callbacks from CiviCRM's hook system. What this means is that WordPress developers can now begin building an ecosystem of plugins to rival the ecosystem of Drupal modules.

Anatomy of a plugin

This section is mostly aimed at site administrators but is also recommended for developers who want to know more about WordPress integration. The new version of the plugin clearly and...

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24 November, 2014

When preparing an email newsletter, one part of it that is time consuming is gathering together all the content that is needed. In my experience, virtually all the content already exists elsewhere, such as in the local CMS, in CiviCRM, or on a blog, or some other online source.    So I was thinking how can I make this process easier.  What I did: I created mail merge tokens for CiviCRM that autofill a list of recent blog posts, stories, or any other type of CMS content.  So the end-user sees a list of tokens, one for each content type, each term/category, each aggregator feed,  and for each date range. Such as "Content of type 'blog' created in the last 7 days" .  What is particulary powerful about this approach, is that if you are also using a CMS aggregator (such as the aggregator module in Drupal core) then virually any external RSS feed is turned into CMS content, which is now available as a CiviCRM token. 

Some examples of how this new extension may help your...

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23 November, 2014

When I started using CiviCRM almost 5 years ago, I was amazed at how many things it could bring to a website right out of the box. The more I used it, the more I wanted to, and saw potential beyond simply keeping contact information, collecting donations, or managing events. CiviCRM is a game-changer. It was shortly after getting into a couple of large projects that the shine started to wear off just a little. Things started getting complicated and working with a CMS whose name is a Swahili word meaning, "all together" or "as a whole.", this was anything but.  CiviCRM and Joomla have a complicated relationship, because it’s really different from Drupal and equally different from Wordpress. This has always been a point of difficulty for Joomla users in the Civi community.

The story could end here, with me throwing up my hands and doing my own thing or going a completely different way, but it doesn’t. Having experience with IRC, I decided to dive head...

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17 September, 2014

I just returned from my first CiviCRM sprint. It was called the DC Sprint, but as Jeremy has already posted, we were actually in Maryland.

As a first time attendee of a CiviCRM conference and sprint, I really did not know what to expect. I was very pleased that both WordPress and Joomla! received some real attention at the sprint and I hope we are heading to a place where CiviCRM can be truly CMS agnostic.

WordPress CiviCRM installs can now benefit from WP-CLI tools. WP-CLI is a Drush equivilant for WordPress. We were able to merge Andy Walker's port into 4.5 and Tim Otten added full API Explorer support for this. At the developer training day in DC on Saturday, we noticed an issue with civix and WordPress. This also fixed and now civix works with all CMSs without having to be directly tied to one as in the past. These two enhancements will help WordPress developers immensely.

Dana Skallman and I also worked through the unresolved tickets for WordPress. A great...

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16 September, 2014

We're approaching the middle of the third day of the 2014 East Coast code sprint, situated in a bucolic farmhouse just outside of Frederick, Maryland. The location has made this sprint a little different, with some people being able to commute back and forth. In total, 14 or so sprinters have been working on webtests, improvements to CiviVolunteer, and improvements to buildkit for all platforms, which some renewed focus on Joomla and Wordpress. It's looking promising that buildkit will be fully supporting all the CMS platforms by the end of the sprint, making it even easier to contribute.

As this was my first sprint, I wasn't completely sure what to expect. In between some intense, heads-down work, we've found time for decompression as well. We've worked in great meals on the various porches at the farmhouse, great conversation around the firepit, and a spirited round of "The Greatest Game Ever." Monday also included a spirited discussion on forms strategy for Civi 5.0...

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08 September, 2014
Filed under WordPress

I am developing a CiviCRM database for a client in WordPress.  This database will supplement and hopefully one day replace a paper-based system spread around several thousand file folders.

The client uses a colour-coding system in these file folders to note the service users’ medical condition. Over time the colour coding has become subconscious to them in the sense that if the files are in an orange folder, they know what condition they are dealing with. The client was keen to carry this colour coding over into the CRM. The trick was getting the CRM to use the correct colour code depending on what condition has been selected.

Here’s how I did it.

The conditions are CiviCRM custom fields.

Screen grab of custom field setup

So first I needed to colour code the initial form that the client uses to input the service users’...

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25 April, 2014

I had fallen into technology almost by accident. As someone who enjoys delivering solutions I often find myself in conversations with people who are trying to build software infrastructures. It spawned a curiosity of technology puzzles. This brought me to Open Source software and I was soon building and configuring WordPress websites, and creating a workspace that allowed me to collaborate with the larger software communities. I have benefited from using open source software and I want to give back.

Dana Skallman

I had done some work with CiviCRM on Drupal sites, focusing solely on the CiviCRM pieces before it was available in WordPress. Now the bulk of the work I do is with WordPress + CiviCRM. As a collective...

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