Melbourne Bootcamp review

Published
2008-04-22 19:10
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Sunday 20th and Monday 21st April was CiviCRM Bootcamp in Melbourne - an excellent couple of days of training, discussion, and discovery.

There was a diverse range of users (about ten?) and different use cases, with representatives from business, politics and charity spaces, and both large and small installations. This led into a comfortable and informal couple of days with two core CiviCRM devs - Dave G and Lobo. For me (approaching CiviCRM mostly from a developer/integrator perspective), it was really helpful to see the different ways in which people use the system to suit their particular needs.

Training sessions covered how CiviCRM works - the basic types of data stored in the system, special things like groups and smart groups, and how they work and are used, custom data groups and fields, and profiles. There was plenty of room for "how do I" and "I wish that" discussion as well, which led to lots of "oh, we do that by ..." tricks being shared between the various attendees. There was a lot of value in that aspect of the bootcamp alone.

In the workshops, I focussed more on development sessions, and enjoyed having access to core CiviCRM developers minds and skills while I explored how to achieve our various project goals. I started adding a UI to attach multiple contacts to a single activity (now CRM-3014).

In the dev workshops, we looked at CiviCRM's internal methodologies, the various external packages which CiviCRM leverages, and how they are applied in the system. We also looked at how some things are expected to change in 2.1.

Finally, there were a few demonstrations of what some non-core developers have been doing with CiviCRM.

Andrew Perry of Legal.Consult demonstrated CiviSMS functionality, which looks to be a useful tool. CiviSMS worked back in the early days of CiviCRM, but I hear it came dangerously close to being extinguished for lack of use before LC breathed new life into the component. Andrew also gave a very detailed and informed talk on how his customers have used CiviMail.

On the final day, I demonstrated a custom search we have built for our local membership secretaries to see members in their local area whose memberships have recently expired (or soon will). This gave other attendees a good look at one use for custom searches.

Going forward, I'm very excited to look deeper into a few new threads that the bootcamp opened up. One is improved logging via MySQL triggers, which will allow us to track data changes with much more (perhaps unlimited?) detail in the system. Another was the potential to override CiviCRM's CRM classes with custom ones, similarly to how CiviCRM allows template overrides. There were lots of other "oh wow" moments, which I'll add later as I review my notes!

Thanks very much to Catholic Super for hosting us - we appreciated their generous catering and great facilities in central Melbourne.

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