Join us for the book sprint

A quick reminder that the week long CiviCRM book sprint starts this Monday and you're welcome to participate by writing, reading and commenting on chapters and sections. We'll be using the Floss manuals infrastructure. The best way start is by saying hello in the IRC chatroom which is available on the Floss manuals site or via an IRC client at #flossmanuals on irc.freenode.net.

Drupal module for RADIUS / Crypto-Token integration

One of our requirements for CiviCase was a higher degree of security than what is normally associated with a community website. Users reach our CiviCase implementation via https, which is great, but leaves open the whole password issue. Those of you who live in the corporate IT world will be familiar with the two-factor ID solutions that are available on the market, from RSA, CryptoCard, and maybe others. We decided to use one of these solutions so that our users would always be given a "fresh" password for each login.

Washington DC CiviCRM Meetup this Wednesday!

The adoption of CiviCRM in the past couple of years has boomed, and as of late Trellon has taken on some rather large implementations of the CRM system for advocacy and international development organizations. The CiviCRM community has been lacking local user groups to support developers, administrators and persons interested in learning more about the platform. In response to this need, we have decided to start the first Washington DC CiviCRM Meetup group.

CiviCase Meetup in Vancouver - Phase 1 Review and Phase 2 Planning

Several members of our core team just got back from a 3 day CiviCase meetup in beautiful Vancouver, Canada - hosted by Physician Health Program - BC (PHP-BC). Our main goals were:
  • Get face-to-face feedback from PHP staff who are using CiviCase about what's working and what needs improvement in the existing implementation.
  • Do some code sprints to get some quick wins for implementation within the current release cycle (2.2.3)
  • Review the list of candidate features for Phase 2 in order to get a better understanding of the requirements, and discuss a range of implementation "solutions".
  • Prioritize the Phase 2 list and come up with a scope of work and specifications for the 2.3 release.
The PHP-BC staff did a fantastic job of welcoming us, arranging logistics for housing and meeting space, and keeping us well fed (they hosted several incredible lunches and dinners)! We built an agenda that allowed us to get in-depth feedback on the current version, and then follow-up with time to code and share improvements and/or design ideas.

Membership Price Sets

I had to add some price sets to our recent project and I think I managed to get both the existing system and the price set system to work side by side. To give you an idea of why I had to do it, think of this; you have a specific membership open to organisations, the amount that the organisation needs to pay to join is based on its size. A company of 2-4 people will pay less than a 300+ employee company.

User interface optimisations - we need your voice

A major focus for the next version of CiviCRM (v2.3) is improvement and optimisation of the user interface and its usability. During the last few weeks, together with our Advisory Group, we've been busy investigating different options for changing the way CiviCRM looks and behaves. This project will has quite a large scope, and will span over at least two versions. For version 2.3, one goal is to unify the way different functions are being handled from a user interface perspective. We'd like clean up the HTML and CSS for as many templates as possible, and introduce stable standards for building user interface elements. From a technical point of view, one of the efforts is to make heavy use of jQuery and jQueryUI, but that seems like the easy part. Much more difficult is figuring out how to make our user interface easier to use, provide solutions that will allow people to perform everyday CiviCRM tasks quickly and effectively - and also how to make it look nice. :-) There is ongoing discussion within core team and Advisory Group on this, we are experimenting with different solutions. We will be asking you for opinions and feedback as we move forward with this part of the work for CiviCRM 2.3. One important piece is improving the contact add/edit screen, which is one of the most crucial parts of the system. It is used quite frequently and is also quite complicated. We've built a mockup screen to share our draft "re-design". We had a few iterations of work on this screen, and we've come to the stage where we would like you to give us feedback on whole idea. Two main goals behind the changes:
  • Provide a simple and quick way to input the most important information - name and contact information. This has been approached by moving email, phone and IM fields together with first name, last name etc into to first section.
  • Make the user interface on this screen more compact and make it easier to get to the sections you want to edit with minimal scrolling.

Penguin Day San Francisco - Mix it Up with Folks from the CiviCRM Core Team!

Penguin Day is coming to San Francisco on Saturday, April 25, 2009, right before the NTC. The agenda includes several CiviCRM-related sessions - both for folks just checking out CiviCRM, and for experienced users / developers. Several members of the CiviCRM core team and our new Community Advisory Group will be in attendance as well as - so it's a great way to make "civi-connections". You can register now at the Penguin Day site.  

The Book vs the Documentation

Dave Greenberg recently posted about our upcoming book sprint saying "almost every week folks ask whether there is a CiviCRM Book they can read". So there must be something missing from the documentation. And given that the book will be in addition to what is on the Wiki - not a replacement for it - the two questions I am asking myself are: 'What are we missing in the documentation? And how should the documentation and the book complement each other?' Here is my initial answer: