CiviCRM seems to be growing at a fairly nice pace with a good adoption rate in the community. In the run up to the presidential elections, quite a few of the democratic grassroots political campaigns have used Drupal / CiviCRM as their organizing and fund-raising platform.
I think there were about 40 of us. Roughly half wanted to know more about what CiviCRM is and how it works. Other topics of interest included: customizable, householding, vs. DIA and Convio and others, events, profiles (how people are using), security, maintenance, cost (implement, customize, maintain), migrating data. David Geilhufe did a good job of leading the session, describing CiviCRM, and answering questions.
- What data is stored in what tables?
- What type and size of data is valid for a given field?
- How are the various tables connected to each other?
We made a few major changes to the v1.7 search interface for a big improvement in performance. The first change was to ot use a wildcard for the prefix. Thus when a user searches on NAME, we only search for 'NAME%', in older version we would search for '%NAME%'. This allows mysql to use the index on sort_name and is significantly faster than a full table scan. The second change involved not searching the 'email' table when doing a search on 'name'. This allows us to avoid two very expensive 'LEFT JOIN' sql statement and speeds up search significantly.
- When do we drop support for PHP 4.x?
- When do we drop support for MySQL 4.1
USPIRG has decided to work on CiviCRM as the Code for Change project this summer!. Should be a great value add to the CiviCRM community. Thanx to Wes Morgan and USPIRG for choosing CiviCRM. From their website:
Code for Change is an exciting new program which brings together computer science students and recent graduates in the summer to lead an open source software development project. The projects will vary from year to year, but they'll tend to focus on furthering the online organizing work of U.S. PIRG and, being open source, lots of other organizations as well.
This summer, we'll be working on the CivicSpace project to make it a world class online organizing platform. By the end of the summer, organizations working on issues ranging from preserving our last remaining wild forests to preventing human rights abuses will be able to take advantage of our work to get more and more people involved in their issues online.
CiviCRM SessionGregory Heller from CivicActions joined me in presenting a session on CiviCRM on Friday morning. Despite the fact that we were scheduled opposite Dries Butaert (Drupal founder) - we had a good showing. I gave folks an overview of CiviCRM - with an emphasis on CMS integration approaches (profiles, user registration, APIs and hooks). Then Greg showed off live examples of each of these techniques on some of the cool sites that CivicActions has developed using CiviCRM.
Other release highlights include:
- Create and save re-usable email templates (with mail-merge tokens)
- CiviContribute plugins for Authorize.net and Google Checkout
- Use customized versions of templates for any screen
- One-click copying for existing Profiles, Contribution Pages and Events
- PayPal has a much richer and more well thought out SDK. They do quite a few things right from a developers perspective, primarily allowing the code to set various defaults (like the return url)
- Have the Google Checkout folks tried to use the sandbox with the awful "sandbox" background that they use. Makes it fairly hard to read and navigate the site