CiviCRM v1.7 update ...

CiviCRM v1.7 is proceeding at a good pace. We've closed most of the issues with just a couple that are still open. We've also got a public sandbox that the community can use and test out various features of v1.7. Hopefully this will also allow us to collect a few more bug reports and issues. We definitely would like to see the community step up and play a more crucial role with testing the product before the beta and final release.

If things continue at this pace, I suspect we'll push out a beta candidate mid next week. At that point, we'll also switch demo to using CiviCRM v1.7 and make v1.7 the default download. In the past this has enabled us to catch a few more issues before we do a final release.

Good video on open source development ..

Came across this on digg today:

How Open Source Projects Survive Poisionous People (and you can too). If you are interested in open source development, building and fostering a developer community, this video is definitely worth watching. We in CiviCRM land can learn quite a few things from this video. I dont think this is a problem with CiviCRM land currently, but its nice to hear about some tips on how to structure email conversations etc. I think we have a really awesome community and the video has some good tips on managing a project etc

1.7 Alpha Sandbox

We launched the 1.7 alpha sandbox this weekend. The site is designed to allow community members and developers to explore the new features in the 1.7 release and help us identify bugs in the release prior to the Beta launch (current 1.7 release schedule). Pounding on the sandbox will help enormously in improving the quality of the beta and final releases - so if you're interested in using the new features in 1.7 and contributing to CiviCRM - this is a great way to help.

Zend and Java-Bridge ..

I've installed and am running Zend Platform 3.0.0 on my MacBook. I'm quite pleased with the stability and reliability of the platform. have not done any major testing regarding the speed increase, but I suspect its not noticeable since the machine is not very loaded and already quite responsive

Zend has introduced a new developer license scheme, where you can run Zend Platform for free on your development box. This is quite good for us since we dont have to pay for it. However there are two minor things that are annoying:

BIRT integration with CiviCRM

I've been spending the past few days with Eclipse and BIRT. Their examples and screencasts are quite valuable to understanding a fairly complex application. I suspect this model of documentation is quite applicable to CiviCRM also.

I'm making pretty good progress with CiviReport and currently have a BIRT library with various reports that can be distributed. I'm focusing on CiviContribute for the initial set of reports, but it is quite easy to adapt the reports to CiviMember and CiviEvent. BIRT allows you to have drill down reports (i.e. from a high level report, you can get more detailed reports on various aspects by drilling down a level or two). Thus a top level contribution report could give you breakdown by year, state and your top 5 donors. You can then drill down into details for each year, or state or a more detailed contribution report on a donor.

CiviCRM and Joomla ...

Thanx to our colleagues from PicNet, we've had support for Joomla! since CiviCRM v1.1. Joomla! is a fairly popular open source CMS and seems to have a significantly larger user base than Drupal. Unfortunately Joomla! does not make it easy to extend some core functionality like Drupal. Hence, CiviCRM on Joomla! lacks a few very important features.

We were hoping that Joomla! 1.5 would address these issues, but that did not happen. At the same time our user base on Joomla is growing quite nicely. Our download stats now indicate that the php4 version of joomla is the most downloaded tarball. The Joomla Extensions site is a close third on our referrals to after google and drupal. If you are a CiviCRM user on Joomla!, please do take the time to review and rate us on the Joomla extensions site.

Another Drupal/CiviCRM site ..

From our friends at CivicActions comes the Draft Al Gore site using Drupal and CiviCRM. They use a pretty nifty thermometer module to track the amount of money coming in via CiviContribute. You can get the thermometer module from their svn repository. I hope to incorporate some of the ideas from there into the vanilla CiviCRM thermometer. Thanx to Owen for the tip :)

The Givewell questions ...

I recently cam across, a group that has recently stirred some activity in the non-profit blogosphere. For more information and details you should check out the Givewell blog. They ask non-profits some specific questions and expect specific answers. Being a non-profit and an open source organization, I figured it would be a good exercise for us to answer those questions. Note that like most of my other blog entries, this is a quick unplanned writing exercise ...