Better Household Management with CiviCRM

The current way to track Households (HH) in CiviCRM is not easy. Over the last few weeks DharmaTech has been brainstorming how to better manage HH's and we had a chance at the CiviCRM developer camp to bounce ideas off of the core team as well as other developers in the community which was really helpful. What follows are our ideas to start the discussion.

Using FCKeditor and Image Assist from Drupal

Firstly, congratulations all the book sprinters. You did well. I'll be having a good read of it this weekend. Before I delve into some code I'd like to give you my motivation for doing what I'm about to describe. I need image uploading, ease of use and consistency. I also don't want to bother with maintaining 2 versions of fckeditor. I knew it shouldn't be too hard to get it working across to 2 systems and to be honest it wasn't. It took a little more to find out what the Image assist module needed though. A nice feature of fckeditor is that we get a nice button in the editor toolbar instead of the link below the textarea as it would normally be. To get fckeditor and image assist working in drupal together you will need to copy img_assist_fckeditor.js from fckeditor module folder into img_assist folder. If you get a white empty popup screen then you have missed this step out. On to some actual coding. Please make sure your drupal modules are all working before trying this for your own sanity's sake.

Registration open for UK / Europe Developer Camp

Registration is now open for the UK/Europe CiviCRM developer camp in London. We had a decent response from the survey and pretty excited about the camp. Registration is handled via CiviEvent and you can pay in either Euros of Pounds Sterling via a custom hook courtesy of Lobo and Ken (mrfelton on #civicrm).

CiviCRM - The Book is Born

The Book Sprint is over - and we met our goal: Zero to Book in 5 days. Reflecting on the process, I am incredibly moved by the dedication and commitment which everyone on the sprint team brought to the process. People came together with a rich mix of experience and perspectives - and an amazing spirit of collaboration. It was a personal honor for me to be a member of this incredible team! You can read the book online (in your browser) at: >> and you can download a PDF version of the complete book by clicking the Make PDF icon in the upper left corner of that screen. I am quite hopeful that this book will be a great resource both for current members of the CiviCRM community and for people who are evaluating whether CiviCRM might be a useful tool for their organizations. Please post your feedback and suggestions on the Documentation and Book section of the community forums.

CiviReport: A new reporting framework for CiviCRM

One of the reported shortcomings of CiviCRM has been the perceived "lack of reporting functionality". This is true to a large extent, but our hope was that most folks would either use
  • Traditional reporting solutions: BIRT, Jasper Reports and/or Crystal Reports. We demoed an integration with BIRT a few releases back, but this did not get any traction. There are a couple of larger deployments that have built custom reports using BIRT and Jasper.
  • Views2 and CiviCRM integration. However the lack of grouping / sub-total functionality has prevented this from being a complete reporting solution. This is also a drupal only solution
  • Custom Drupal modules / Joomla components. Quite a few folks have gone down this path, but there has not been a lot of sharing of these reports within the community
Based on the success of Custom Search, we decided that shipping CiviCRM with a few good reports was a good goal for 2.3. This initiated CiviReport - The Return. The goal was to build a simple code based reporting framework that we could use to write reports fairly quickly. The same interface would be exposed so other developers could contribute their custom reports to core (in a manner similar to custom search).

CiviCRM Notes from NTEN Conference 2009 and User Meeting in San Francisco

I've combined my notes from the CiviCRM affinity group meeting and the user meeting and added notes from one conference session. In general, there were more people at the affinity group meeting this year than last year, more sessions that included CiviCRM, and I sensed more enthusiasm for CiviCRM. (One person told me she had been to the affinity group meeting and will be using CiviCRM.)

CiviCRM Affinity Group Meeting, April 26, 2009, at the NTEN conference, San Francisco, about 56 people

CiviEvent Usability

At the Developer camps on the 28th and 29th of April, 2009 (ie last week) one of the major tracks for all the breakout sessions was usability. Which is a major theme of the 2.3 version upgrade. In two of the groups I participated in we talked about the usability of the CiviEvent module from a an administrators perspective. One frustration that we decided need addressed was the 5 step wizard to create an event.

San Francisco Developer Camp Report

We had a CiviCRM developer Camp on April 29th and 30th at Mitchell Kapor Foundation in downtown San Francisco. This was our largest developer camp with approx 25 attendees and 6 folks from the core team (Dave, Kurund, Deepak, Michal, Yashodha and me). This event was slightly different from our past developer camps. Due to the confluence of various events (Penguin Day, NTEN, Book Sprint) we had a great collection of users and integrators with indepth CiviCRM experience. We chose this opportunity to have them speak on some of their past work related to CiviCRM.