In case you have been living under a rock, the CiviCRM development environment has dramatically changed over the last 5 years. Recently I've had the opportunity to upgrade my 10 year old CiviCRM development chops by learning some of the new tools and I thought I would share my experiences.
In 2016 Tim Otten wrote a manifesto of sorts which outlined a practical and effective way to modernize CiviCRM. It boiled down to 5 letters: LExIM. 5 years on, CiviCRM is indeed in better shape than it was then, thanks to a tenacious community of developers following this path. So what is LExIM, why has it gotten us where we are today, and where are we headed?
Form Builder is a promising new cross-platform tool for making forms that sync with CiviCRM data. It's more powerful flexible than Profiles, and more compatible than proprietary plugins like Caldera. The only downside is that it's not finished. It is currently included with CiviCRM as a beta extension, but we can change that.
CiviCRM version 5.52.0 is now out and ready to download. This is a regular monthly release. Upgrade now for the most stable CiviCRM experience:
There are a few reporting extensions available for CiviCRM that add reporting template options, particularly for contribution reporting. In particular, ReportPlus stands out from the rest of the crowd as an interesting option to explore.
CiviSMTP is an email delivery service for CiviCRM that has been around since the very early days of CiviCRM. Even with CiviMail, making sure that emails land in the inbox, and not in the spam folder, can be a challenge. CiviSMTP made sure that their IPs had a good reputation, well configured, and good bounce management. At the time, they were the only service around that supported CiviCRM, and you could often meet their team at CiviCRM conferences in San Francisco, back in the day.
CiviCRM version 5.51.0 is now out and ready to download. This is a regular monthly release. Upgrade now for the most stable CiviCRM experience:
This July 27th and 28th we are planning a friendly and informal CiviCRM Sprint at Kaleider Studios in Exeter UK.
Sprints are in person events where the main focus is working together to contribute back to CiviCRM. They are often large events, many months in the planning but this one will be a lot smaller and more informal.
If you’re starting to see unexpected content at the top and/or bottom of your mailings, this may be to do with a recent upgrade (to 5.49.0+). For example, you might see text like “default HTML header”, or a footer offering opt-out where there previously was none. You might also see old headers/footers that you used to use.
So you have loads of useful data in your CiviCRM database… but the core CiviCRM reports just aren't cutting it. What to do? A number of our clients have worked around this by utilizing Jasper Reports, an open source tool that allows for building complex and flexible reports using data, read directly from CiviCRM.