Published
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - 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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Comments

Thanks for the review, and indeed thanks to everyone for a great couple of days training, even if my head did hurt at the end of it. I learnt a lot about the structure of Civi and have a much better idea of the way forward for implementing Civi for our small voluntary organisation.

Having got home with time to think about it, I now wished I had asked a lot more about reporting. That's the one big remaining uncertainty for me. See you on the forums..

cheers
Phil.

  • ...to Dave and Lobo for bringing CiviCRM to us and for bringing the training "down under"
  • to Diane and Clare for asking soooooooooo many questions,
    many of which I never would have thought to ask and, as a consequence,
    I learned so much more.
  • to all the others who presented something about their own
    implementation. It opened my eyes to more things the CiviCRM can do.
  • to the hosts, Catholic Super and to Rob who made us feel
    very comfortable. It's also nice to be able to park free in the
    Melbourne CBD!

I came as a user of CiviCRM and hoped to go away as a "power user". I
think I have a lot more ground to cover before I reach my goal but at
least the training gave me a road map and a push in the right direction.

The agenda was prepared with the goal of addressing the needs of our
own group of attendees. It worked and it was very flexibile too. Not
just a PowerPoint presentation...in fact...there was no PowerPoint
presentation!

Dennis Gray
Democrats Abroad
Tell an American to Vote!

Echo - thanks to Dave, lobo, the hosts and the the excellent mix of attendees.

The time spent over the last weekend was greatly beneficial as it helped to put a lot of jigzaw pieces together after much research of the software we will be using (CiviCRM) to replace the current Admin Database.

It was fabulous to meet with other developers and users and realise that we are not alone. Diverse Industries were represented from Financial Institutions, through Legal Professional Consultants, Political groups to Camps for Kids.

We did some practical exercises that tested out our understanding of the power and limitations and raised real life case issues, challenges that will need to be addressed along the way.

We received many excellent ideas to help progress the Association's individual needs.

Overall my report is:

* I am totally impressed with some of the current functionality and future plans of the software, that I previously did not know about.
* It was well worth taking the time to attend
* Clare & I were enabled to sketch out some roughs for what we need to do next in relation to migrating from old to new system - this would not have happened without the hands on and face to face time.

cheers!